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Throughout November we hosted visits from students attending St.Mary’s School & College, Saxon Mount School and Heathfield Community College as part of the Open Doors 2018 programme, coordinated by Skills East Sussex and The Career & Enterprise Company.

This programme enables Year 7 – Year 13 students to visit business premises, meet employees and learn about the variety of local career options and pathways. Feedback from students proves that these visits have a strong impact on behavior and attainment. Furthermore, studies state that by having encounters with employers at least once a year, students are more likely to have higher aspirations, stay in education and earn better salaries.

At De La Warr Pavilion, students toured the building and met a range of staff members working across the organisation including Events Manager, Naomi Scully; Events Coordinator Brogan Carpenter; Production Managers Suzi Antik and Joshua Jupp; Fundraiser, Dan Scales;  Digital Marketing Coordinator, Lizzie Benians; Director of External Relations, Sally Ann Lycett; Chief Executive, Stewart Drew and Head of Learning & Participation, Ashley McCormick.

Students interviewed staff members to find out everything from what qualifications and skills they needed to do their job, to blunders they made in their interviews, to their favourite aspect of their work. Students were surprised by some staff members routes into work. For instance, fundraiser, Dan, revealed that he studied History at University, which kindled an interest in politics and policy making, leading him to work in the charities sector. He cited communication skill, specifically in essay writing as very important for his role. Events Coordinator, Brogan, explained that 4 years as cabin crew on long haul flights honed her customer service skills and ability to keep calm in stressful situations. Production Manager, Suzi, disclosed her early ambitions to be an actress. However, she soon grew bored of ‘treading the boards’ and developed a fascination with in technical production aspect of theatre, including lighting, rigging, sound and stage pyrotechnics!

Students left with a more thorough understanding of how this arts organisation works and the vast array of careers available to them in the cultural sector. Some students made enquiries about volunteering and work experience opportunities, so we hope they will return to join our teams very soon!

Our involvement in the Open Doors programme, combined with our work experience provision and participation in school careers fairs has earned us an East Sussex Industry Champion badge celebrating our commitment to furthering skills in East Sussex.

This was the second year we have been involved in Open Doors. We aim to make these visits an annual occurrence and grow visits in 2019. If you would like to arrange an Open Doors visit for students please contact Kimberley.Bulgin@eastsussex.gov.uk

Posted by sally on Friday 14 December 2018