Focussed on entrepreneurship
Guidance Counsellor Cyrilene Willoughby explained that since most of the students did not get to attend the National Career Showcase held this year at the Wildey Gymnasium, she, along with two other teachers, Patricia Welch and David Eversley, began planning a similar event for the school, given the interest of students.
“I felt this would be good because I needed the students to see that there are skills that they have and they can use those skills and everything is not purely academic. So along with the academics they also need to recognise that they can do other things where they can earn a living.”
She said they decided to focus on some of the more non-traditional areas like net mending, careers in the postal service, the police’s Canine Unit; computer technology and electrical engineering with the use of solar, upholstery, fisheries, animation and photography among others.
While the showcase was open to the entire school, Willoughby said they were concentrating on the third, fourth and fifth formers who would be closer to planning their future.
“The economy being what it is, we need to develop the entrepreneurial spirit and I figured if they could see things at work here, they could see how their own skills can benefit them. For example there is a cosmetology class that is part of the school-to-work programme and I have some of the students showcasing their ability today.”
Cosmetology teacher, Althea Thompson said she had definitely seen the interest in students in that area, but she was trying to open their minds to all the different possibilities.
She said she had a class of 17 enthusiastic fourth and fifth formers whose skills she was watching grow as time went on, adding that even 17 students was a large class.
“I always tell the students that cosmetology is a very broad area and you don’t have to stick to any particular thing. There are so many areas you can choose from and specialise as opposed to being a general beautician because it allows you flexibility in your career.
“The demand for cosmetology is very high. Generally they come in thinking it is a piece of cake but by the time we get into the theoretical side they find it a bit challenging but I try to make the classes as interesting as possible,” she said.
Most of the exhibitors expressed satisfaction, not just with the turn-out, but the questions and inquisitive nature of the students who seemed genuinely interested in the information, and especially in finding out the types of subject areas they needed for the various professions. (LB)