Careers education and advice is an important element in a Mayfield education. Starting in Year 7 and building through Year 9, when girls make GCSE options, to Year 11 when subject choices begin to define career paths, our Lifeskills programme helps girls to focus on their strengths, skills and talents, relate these to the demands of a range of careers and reflect on the choices they are making.
We hold an annual Careers Fair for girls in Years 9 to 13. Over 30 careers are covered by speakers drawn from our parent body and beyond, including engineering, financial services, banking, law, pharmaceuticals, human resources, retail, medicine, psychiatry, veterinary, accountancy, planning, PR, teaching, the oil industry, surveying, journalism, graphic design and digital technology.
As part of the Sixth Form induction programme, pupils are introduced to the Careers Library and the opportunities it offers to explore careers and higher education options. Every month there is a Careers Networking Evening, aimed principally at the Sixth Form and Year 11, where visiting speakers from a range of different professions come to Mayfield to share their knowledge and experience of their particular career areas with the girls. We take pupils to Higher Education and Careers Fairs. Work shadowing opportunities are available during Activities Week in early July. We warmly encourage pupils to seek out opportunities to undertake work experience during the summer holiday at the end of both Years 11 and 12.
Formal exploration of careers and higher education options gets fully under way in tutor time in January. Working with their tutors and other staff, pupils are directed through a process of self-examination and enquiry, designed to help them come to appropriate conclusions about themselves and their intentions. This leads directly into extensive research, above all into what is on offer at higher education institutions, and to them beginning to form a long and then a short list of what interests them. Pupils with specific interests are identified at this stage and encouraged to go to relevant courses and conferences – for those interested in Oxford or Cambridge, or in Engineering or Medicine, for example.
Information is also given on Gap years for those who may be considering that option. We host a Higher Education Evening in the middle of the Spring Term of Year 12 when the whole higher education application process is explained to pupils and their parents.
As a result of conversations they have with professional people at the Careers Information evening, girls often arrange work experience directly during the course of the Easter holiday or in the longer summer vacation.
We hold a ‘Work shadowing day’ during Activities Week in the final week of the summer term. Each year parents, alumni and others kindly arrange a day of work shadowing for a number of pupils (while some only take one, others take more than 10). In 2015 the School set up work shadowing at Arup (Crossrail project); Barclays Bank (Canary Wharf); Brighton Coroner’s office; Fenwicks Brent Cross; HSBC (Canary Wharf); McCormick (UK) Ltd (Marketing); Miasuki Cavallerizza e Cavaliere (Milan); Network Rail; primary schools in Wadhurst and Burgess Hill; Servomex; Steven Booth Graphic Design; STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
Many pupils are able to set up work experience in key fields such as medicine, veterinary medicine and dentistry through family contacts, but where this is not the case we use our network of contacts to help students get the experience they need. This includes helping students set up regular volunteer work at venues such as The Hospice in the Weald.