Inspired students from QE have been able to discover the huge range of exciting career pathways available to them after their A Levels at the College’s annual Employment and Gap Year Fair. Over 30 different employers, companies which offer apprenticeships, training and work experience providers, and public services visited QE to speak with students about current and upcoming roles within their organisations and to give useful advice on how to make a successful application. Firms which specialise in gap years were also present to discuss the many enriching projects they offer to students wishing to take some time out upon completing their A Levels.

Liz Bryan, Higher Education and Careers Adviser, who organised the event, comments: ‘The fair was an enormous success. What particularly stood out was the emphasis being placed on work experience, volunteering and how much it is valued by employers. It allows students to obtain a good understanding into how organisations function whilst developing their employability skills and helping them to decide whether they would enjoy pursuing a certain career! It was wonderful to be reunited with so many of our ex-students who are now working in rewarding professions and watch them provide our current students with a personalised insight into their jobs. Two of our former students are on placement with engineering giant, Cummins, and spoke about the benefits of completing a year in industry as part of their degree course.’

NHS clinical psychologist, David Griksaitis, who attended the event says: ‘It was lovely to chat to such enthusiastic students. I spoke with at least twenty individuals who asked about the role of a clinical psychologist. Some students are very keen to work in mental health which is great to see!’ Dave Jury from PGL Travel Ltd, an organiser of school activity courses and summer camps, adds: ‘The fair was excellent. Our company would love to welcome QE’s sport students to visit our new activity centre close to Northallerton to learn more about what we do.’

Looking back on the event, second year student, Lewis Davis, who studies A Level German, Photography and Business Technical at QE, explains: ‘I enjoyed meeting all of the employers. I found MHT Technology and Cummins really helpful in advising me about working in industry and careers in both engineering and technology.’ Leah Pearson, who is also in her second year and a student of A Level Psychology, Health and Social Care and Criminology, was grateful to find out more about opportunities within the NHS. The 17-year-old from Bedale comments: ‘I spoke to a representative from the NHS who signposted me to a healthcare assistant apprenticeship which could lead to a part-time degree in nursing. She gave me some really useful information!’

Liz Bryan concludes: ‘Both students and providers were able to benefit from the fair and it was fantastic to reconnect with our ex-students, including Heather Lagan who now works as a flood risk management engineer for North Yorkshire County Council. Ellie Tweddle, who completed her A Levels in 2021, was also in attendance and she is training to become a solicitor with Watson Woodhouse through their degree apprenticeship route.’

To find out more about QE’s Employment and Gap Year Fair, please contact Liz Bryan, Higher Education and Careers Adviser ([email protected])