Here at S. Peter’s, the Student Professional Development Team provides the following services to our learners:
- Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance
- Work Experience and other job placements
- Employability qualifications
- Cross-curricular and transferable interpersonal and professional skills (knowledge, understanding and application)
- Employer engagement and institutional links
- Contextualised, scenario based learning
Our centre is located in room A14 where we have provision for dedicated activities including personal interviews, group tasks, resource browsing and special events with our own and external specialists.
The centre is also home to Alex Cadman, from Cadman Careers, who is our external provider for independent and impartial careers advice and guidance. Alex can be found here one day a week and has drop-in sessions available in addition to interviewing year 11 students regularly on their post 16 strategies.
Mr Bevan is our Employability Coordinator, and he specialises in Work Experience placements (for all year 10 students) and our Employability qualification. His base is the Professional Development Centre which means that he is usually there to supervise any informal visits that students would like to make across the school day, including break and lunchtimes. Provided the centre isn’t booked for particular groups, classes or employers, it is always accessible to students.
With the onset of the centre, groups will now be able to experience direct careers education through further contextualised learning in a dedicated environment. They can also gain access to resources to build upon their knowledge and awareness of careers and institutions at various levels, have formal or informal interviews, seek advice on obtaining references for employers, educators and training providers, discuss specialist work experience placements and carry out personalised analytical testing and profiling to assist with either careers or indeed options choices.
Year 7 students firstly experience Professional Development as a dedicated lesson through the PSHCE project “Product or Performance”. The module covers psychological triggers, commerce and enterprise and aims to engage students with thinking about the spirit and skills of collective entrepreneurship and apply this to the creation of a dedicated product to be sold or a performance to sell tickets to. Each class will, through their own desired outcome, experience further specialism as the process concludes (for example publishing) which can then be utilised on their future CVs as a real-life commercial success.
Professional Development for Year 8 learners is integrated into the curriculum itself wherever possible, and a strong example is the work that we do in association with Compton Hospice through Product Design. Here students are tasked with designing and manufacturing products for sale within the charity’s HQ store and must utilise project management skills, teambuilding and personnel deployment to successfully achieve a safe-for-public batch produced item that can retail for £10 or less. This has previously led to regional press coverage for those students who have ultimately helped Compton Hospice to raise funds.Mr D. Szwarc
Director of Student Professional Development
Examples of Events run by D Szwarc
Silversmith Jewellery Workshops
Freelance jewellery designer and maker Krystyna Sochacki provides students with direct experience of silversmithing, where they have the opportunity to design and manufacture their own personalised sterling silver ring or pendant along with the chance to get to know Kryssy and find out more about what is required to become a successful designer/maker along with an understanding of freelance work and commissions.
Young Designers of the Year
Students from years 7 to 10 are invited to attend the university’s Degree Show based on their efforts and skill-sets shown in Product Design over the course of the academic year. They are firstly tasked with networking, gathering research and contact information from the Product Design exhibition, and hand in the work at the end of the visit. For day 2, they are put into mixed year group teams, each headed by a year 10 captain, the work is returned to them and they debate which degree level project to redevelop into a fully-fledged design in business proposition. Each team then bids to gain control of their project, and if two teams have selected the same project/designer to inspire them, they have a debate on who should gain control. Further research, contact with designers and suppliers then ensues, as the ideation takes place. Finally, on day 3, all students convert their work to digital files, and deliver a 5 minute presentation then face up to 5 minutes of questioning from a diverse panel of judges, ranging from design graduates and lecturers to business and literacy specialists. Winners are decided from judges’ scores based around virtual investments, with the prizewinners being the team identified as gaining the most financial backing.
Exhibition at the University of Wolverhampton
Each year we are invited to showcase our A Level (and in some cases GCSE due to the outstanding quality of work some students produce!) Product Design work alongside that of the undergraduates at the University of Wolverhampton (many thanks to David Henley, Robert Cooksey, Pat Dillon and Ben Salter). Allocated a space, students then plan and build their exhibition, with associated printwork and plinths all being specifically designed and manufactured for the event. Students then experience the opening night of the show which is a VIP private viewing for designers, manufacturers and the press and enjoy talking about their work in a high profile environment. The exhibition is then open to the public for one week.