Thirty-two year 11 students of Prince Andrew School have from 1 July volunteered to take part in the work experience programme provided by the Adult Vocational Education Service (AVES). Having completed their compulsory schooling and GCSE examinations – for the next six weeks these students will be working in various organisations across the Island. A number of these students have decided to work for St Helena Government and related bodies – including in the Police Directorate, Environmental Management Directorate (EMD), Primary Schools, and Health and Social Welfare.
Students have also shown interest in the Tourist Office, a part of Enterprise St Helena, which has a strong link with SHG.
The experience gained from working in these Directorates will give students an insight into an actual working environment, providing them with more knowledge and experience about the career path they might choose.
We caught up with two students on the programme.
Alexandria Thomas (photo attached) has an interest in tourism and has chosen to work five days a week in the Tourist Office, Jamestown. Alexandria says that so far her work is satisfying, but she has a challenge to overcome her shyness and become more confident. At the end of the programme, Alexandria will have gained experience of what is like to be in the working world, and then hopes to work towards a career in travel and tourism.
Another student, Candice Thomas (photo attached), chose to work at Pilling Primary School as she would like to have a future in teaching. Being a former student of Pilling Primary, Candice is familiar with her working surroundings. Candice enjoys working three days a week and has learnt how to cope with different behaviours and how to be a good role model to those younger than her. Candice is sure that the work experience programme will help to prepare her for the future, as she is also interested in counselling children and says that she would like to work as a full time employee at Pilling Primary.
Cynthia Bennett of AVES organised the programme for students as part of the Careers Guidance Programme to help them choose the right job to suit their personality and to gain knowledge of what is needed to continue their career path.
Before the programme started, a one to one interview was conducted between Cynthia and each student to discuss their career plans and their choice of work experience. From there, Cynthia contacted the employers of each chosen workplace to ask for permission and to set a programme for the student. In addition to this programme, Cynthia will conduct an in-depth interview/job search programme that will last for four days and which she encourages all students, particularly those who will not be returning to school, to participate in.
So far Cynthia says that she has had positive feedback from all trainers. She commented:
“I am very pleased with the way the programme is going and, that all the students have taken this seriously and have realised the benefits.
“I am also pleased about the support I’ve had from the training providers and all the employment organisations. A lot of people have really come on board with it and have been very supportive.
“We ask the employers to come up with a work programme so that the students will have some idea of what is expected of them – each employer has done that. An assessment is made at the end of the programme – and that is an important reward to the students as they can keep it as a reference when they seek employment.”
22 July 2013