This week has been quite different at LCA. Having finished their exams Year 11 have turned their attention to the important business of ‘prom prep’: fake tan application, nail gels and securing the most unique wheels for the evening. Despite it being over a decade ago, Billy retains the title; he flagged down his local Mr Whippy van and persuaded the driver to help him make a grand entrance.
With Year 10 out on work experience and sixth formers focused on exams, we have welcomed over 300 primary school children into our academy. This work is an important part of our transition; we tend to find once students have blown up a jelly baby in our Science labs, they feel a lot more at home!
Staff have been visiting Year 10 on their work experience placements across the city. We know that financial pressures have forced many schools to remove work experience, but for now, it remains part of LCA’s annual offer in both Year 10 and Year 12. Each year it is a valuable learning experience, sometimes transformational. For some the social skills required provide the greatest source of nerves – all those adults to interact with, the listening skills required, working to present yourself in the best possible light. For others, the requirements of personal organization and punctuality challenge the most. What is clear is that each year the same characteristics result in exemplary reports from employers: a willingness to learn, a desire to impress and personal initiative.
Whilst my own work experience week took place decades ago, I still remember the benefits now. For a future solicitor a placement at the probation service seemed like a good fit. I envisaged poring over case files, visiting court and working with offenders. The reality was quite different. By the end of the week I was very adept at licking stamps and making cups of tea. Did that make the experience a waste of time? Not at all. By Friday my confidence had rocketed. I’d worked in an office with professionals, heard how they interacted, experienced office politics, engaged in conversation, listened to staff talk about criminal cases. I’d been on time, apparently polite and hard working. I felt elated. Yes, some of the work was repetitive and monotonous, but lots of it wasn’t. Nonetheless, I’d demonstrated commitment and my line manager had noticed. Work experience is a chance to step outside the familiar school environment and impress adults in the working world. I didn’t go on to work in the same field, but I can still trace the common features of my week’s work experience within my own daily work: team work, investing in people, communication skills…But even if work experience reminds you what you don’t want to pursue as a career, it will have been of value.
To make work experience a success we rely on local business leaders and employers engaging with our school. This year LCA students have benefitted from some really interesting placements in a wide variety of specialisms, including: Engineering, Journalism, Photography, Equine, Veterinary, Sports Coaching, Theatre, Music, IT, Education, Hospitality and Events, Health Care, Hair and Beauty, Vehicle Services, Retail, Construction and Interior Design.
I would like to pay tribute to the countless employers across the city who provided support and guidance to LCA students this week. If the student was exemplary – and we know from your feedback that so many of them were - thank you. And, if there were a few bumps in the road, an even bigger thank you. You may just have helped teach a teenager an important life lesson, you may have broadened their horizons, encouraged them to develop, to study harder, highlighted skills they need to acquire to thrive in the workplace. A well-known African proverb reminds us: ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. Work experience seems a fitting example of the importance of the entire community supporting, guiding and investing in the development of the next generation. Thank you for committing to such important work.
A few highlights:
• Imran is working with the Lead Mechanical Development Engineer at Teledyne E2V
• Maisie has been photographing at the Lincolnshire Show for County Life Ltd.
• Daniel did an hour long live radio broadcast for Siren FM
• Tyler has benefitted from his time at Lindum Construction working with the Design team.
• Kelsey is enjoying spending time interacting with children at St Francis Special School.
• Michael has worked with the electrical and mechanical technicians at FCC Environment, generating electricity from household waste
Good luck to Year 12 who embark on their work experience next week in a wide range of settings, including:
Lincoln Visitor Centre (Travel and Tourism), Lincoln Minster School (Music), University of Lincoln (Science), Lincoln County Hospital (Health care placements through the Talent Academy), Lincolnshire YMCA - The Showroom, Linc Vet, Siemens, Hunters Estate Agents, Saul Fairholme Accountants, Singleton Training Services, Lincolnshire Police, Museum of Lincolnshire Life and many more.
Mrs Laming, Headteacher