School makes friends with neighbours

Since the move to the new location, the Duchess's Community High School, Alnwick, has made links with a number of neighbouring businesses, writes Gabriel Brown.

Tuesday, 16th May 2017, 9:03 am
Updated Tuesday, 16th May 2017, 1:38 pm
Duchess's Community High School careers day. Lindsey Finnie of Pure Fishing talks to pupils Josh McDonald, Aimee Anderson and Erin Murray. Picture by Jane Coltman

Recently, there have been four visits to Sainsbury’s with both GCSE Year 11 classes and all of the A-Level business students. These visits gave a valuable insight into how Sainsbury’s operates, both locally and nationally, particularly in terms of its marketing and human resources operations. A number of students will likely become Sainsbury employees in the future so there was an insight into some of the career paths on offer.

The school is also working with Richard Shell, an ex-student who recently established Doxford Barns, a wedding and conference centre. Richard will be giving a presentation to the A-Level students on his role as an entrepreneur and what goes into setting up and running a business.

Pure Fishing are helping our GCSE students who are investigating how the business uses e-commerce in its marketing and other operations. The students have the challenge of identifying what currently works well and how the use of internet or social media could improve Pure Fishing. Pure Fishing are keen to see the outcome of the students’ work, and any ideas they may have. Alastair Cross, the marketing director, is also giving a presentation to Year 10 students, and the students will then visit Pure Fishing to observe their operations.

In the near future, the school hopes to take up offers of support from Tiger Lifting, one of their closest neighbours, William Hackett Chains and also two of the local garages in Ford Motorcare and Blackshaws, where they have established connections already. There is also an offer from Fenwicks in Newcastle to work with them.

As a result of the recent careers fair in school, the school is working with Careers Pathfinders to establish new links, particularly those who may be able to accommodate 30-40 students on a single visit.

The business department is also welcoming Lord Beith, a close friend of the school, who is giving a presentation to the A-Level politics students on his role as a Lord, and also other issues linked to the political system within the UK.

Outside the business department, Year 12 students are currently making links with local businesses throughout Northumberland and beyond, to set up a one-week work experience placement in late June.

Students are encouraged to take the lead on setting up their own placements so they can be more closely matched to their future career aspirations.

In previous years this has proven to be a real success with many Year 12s gaining a valuable insight into a career they may want to pursue in the future beyond education.