​Careers Fair inspires and informs students of all ages at Dartmouth Academy

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On Friday 5th December, Dartmouth Academy held its Annual Careers Fair. This year, the event was held in the Academy's Library and it proved to be a perfect venue for students of all ages to see visiting exhibitors from employers, universities, colleges and other organisations. The exhibitors had a great deal of information available for students to find out more about educational opportunities after Year 11, as well as employment routes beyond Higher and Further Education. A number of the exhibitors had interactive activities that students could try: the University of Plymouth had an 'Oculus Rift' virtual reality headset that students could wear and move around in a virtual world; South Devon College brought a state-of-the-art 3D printer with which students could have a go at 'printing out' 3D plastic engineering parts; and the British Army gave students the opportunity to complete a mechanical challenge whilst blindfolded to demonstrate the kind of conditions Army Engineers sometimes have to work in. The other visiting exhibitors who had a wealth of information and advice for students included: The National Trust; Monty Halls Great Escapes; Spirent Communications; Dartmouth Caring; Bicton College; The University of Southampton; The University of St Mark and St John; and The Royal Navy. Students liked the fact there were exhibitors from across various different sectors and asked many questions about what kind of qualifications they needed for their chosen employment routes and what courses were available to help them progress into different careers. As well as the main Careers Fair in the Library, Year 11 students also participated in 'mock' job interviews with a number of visiting local employers. The interviews provided an opportunity for students to gain first hand experience of going through the job interview process. The Year 11s came away from the interviews with a positive outlook on the process and commented that they'd gained a great deal of confidence and felt much less daunted than they had done before. One of the interviewing employers said that they would have taken on 9 out of 10 of the students that they interviewed in a real situation. They also commented that they were extremely impressed with the students' positive attitudes and willingness to discuss their attributes and goals. The Academy's Careers Coordinator Mandy Pigott, who organised the event, said, "I'm very proud of our students who acted as wonderful ambassadors for Dartmouth Academy, the visiting exhibitors and employers said that they were given a warm welcome by the students and that they were looking forward to seeing them again at future careers events." Academy Principal Nick Hindmarsh added, "The event was a great opportunity to use our wonderful new Library, the space - in the 'central hub' of the Academy - gave students and pupils a great opportunity to think about their future aspirations and goals. The location also helped to give students the confidence to engage with the exhibitors, asking probing questions and gaining valuable insights. Thank you to Mandy Pigott for organising such a successful day."