STE(A)M Careers Carousel at the Belfast Royal Academy

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Trudging along an icy pavement, weighed down with bags chock-full of marketing and promotional goodies, I entered the gates of the Belfast Royal Academy resembling a gangly, uncoordinated first year student, struggling under the combined weight of their PE kit and a multitude of homework assignments.

The irony of the scene was not lost on me, or any of the passers-by no doubt, who by chance witnessed my comical arrival at the school.

I was there to attend a careers event arranged by eye4education, an organisation that provides tailored educational consultancy services and education programmes to schools across Northern Ireland.

An ‘Interactive STE(A)M Carousel’, the event invited professionals from local businesses to the speak to groups of year 10 pupils about their organisations, and the progression of their careers to date. Pupils from St Malachy’s College were also in attendance.

The abbreviation stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics - did I, all those years ago, an actual gangly and uncoordinated student, ever dream to one day be a STE(A)M ambassador?

Probably not, the career aspirations of my 13 year old self flitted wildly from professional wrestling one day, to Haribo sweet tester the next.

As the schoolchildren collectively shuffled into the assembly hall and began to take their seats before me and my colleagues (not forgetting a table groaning under the weight of Capita branded pens, highlighters and lanyards), I suddenly saw variations of my own 13 year old self looking back at me.

In that instant, I saw the many journeys laid out before these young people.

How many will go on to further and higher education? How many will go on to become apprentices of a trade? Will they decide upon a profession, or will their future profession find them?

In an instant, my initial feelings of bygone nostalgia were replaced by hope for their futures. It was a huge honour to be able to present myself and the business I represent to the students of the Belfast Royal Academy and St Malachy’s College.

I hope that in some small way, I and my colleagues present were able to offer the students much more than branded promotional items, all of which I’m happy to say were eagerly snaffled by the grateful pupils.

Indeed, I hope we were able to provide a useful illustration of how varied and open to possibility their futures are and, not so modestly, maybe we even inspired some of them to seek careers within the STE(A)M discipline.

Leaving the school with a marketing holdall considerably lighter than the one I arrived with, I also left with a lighter heart, and hopeful for the future of every student present at this hugely engaging and rewarding event.

Visit the eye4education website for more information on their education programmes and services.

Author: Gerald McCusker

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