17 July 2023
The 2023 cohort of 16 to 18 year olds has completed a council-organised work skills and careers insights week with Cambridge employers which has helped widen their horizons about future jobs.
The annual programme has a particular focus on increasing young people’s access to the local creative and cultural industries, and is organised by Cambridge City Council and My Cambridge local cultural education partnership, in association with national charity Social Mobility Business Partnership (SMBP).
The programme ran from Monday 10 to Friday 14 July, with young people in Year 12 and Year 13 taking advantage of the opportunity to develop key skills, gain insights into multiple careers, and network with people working in the wide range of roles linked to the arts and culture in Cambridge.
During the week participants spent time with:
Participants also spent time learning about the psychology of resilience, coping mechanisms and goal achievement models.
Leah, aged 18, said: “The day at Cambridge University Press was my favourite. I’m interested in design and we met a product designer who gave me so many ideas on how to improve my portfolio and CV and how to meet people in the design industry. I have been quite worried about getting a job – having missed work experience because of COVID – and I think this experience will really help.”
Leonardo, aged 17, said: “I wasn’t sure what area to pick for a work experience week so my teacher recommended this, and I definitely don’t regret it. My favourite part was a task to promote an item that would help educate people about climate change, which has sparked an interest in marketing. We also got to talk to people in different roles, showing how many jobs really are out there for us after school.”
Filipe, aged 17, said: “I signed up as I wanted to learn about business – but my favourite day ended up being at The Junction learning about sound and lighting. But the whole week has helped widen my horizons and opened my eyes about different businesses.”
Roan, aged 17, said: “I have a massive interest in music and playing instruments, so The Junction was really interesting – learning how the sound works and how much is involved behind the scenes. I’d like to perform in future so learning how it all works will help with that.”
Cllr Alice Gilderdale, Executive Councillor for Community Wealth Building and Community Safety, said: “It was brilliant to join the young people on Friday and hear some of the insights they’ve gained during the week. We recognise that a lot of young people may not have easy access to the arts in their day to day lives, and so a career in the creative industries may seem out of reach. It was also great to learn that Harry Wilby, one of the young people who attended last year, will be performing at Music in the Parks this summer and working at Cambridge Folk Festival.
“Thank you so much to everyone who has helped to create such a rich and varied programme. It sounds like it’s done the job to broaden horizons and give real-world examples of the variety of roles there are locally that are linked to the arts and culture and to help the group start building contacts for the future.”
If any large Cambridge employers within the arts would like to sign up as a business partner for future years, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To be eligible for the programme, young people have to have attended a state school and be: the first generation in their family planning to attend university, or have been eligible for free school meals in the last six years, or be from a low-income household.