"It's not just about the destination, it's about the journey' – this was the message that rang loud and clear throughout the Way Ahead evening organised by the Careers and Aspirations team for Lower V (Year 10) girls and their parents.
As the girls project forward to GCSEs next year they were encouraged to begin to think beyond that to university and jobs, but at the same time were reassured that it was highly unusual to know exactly what they wanted to do at this stage. They were encouraged to be curious and try and gain different experiences of working along the way. There were talks from three Abbey Alumnae who have all had very different journeys in the world of work – none of whom could have predicted them at 14.
Hannah went on from her IB at The Abbey to gain a first class degree in War Studies at King's. She had toyed with the idea of going into the navy when at school, then applied to a lot of the big graduate schemes when at university (because that was what a lot of people were doing) but settled for an internship and then job at a communications consultancy involved in lobbying in Westminster because she much prefers being in a small team.
Fiona described how she had gone on from A levels to study English Literature and thought that would logically take her towards a career in journalism. However after discovering skills in PR and comms - through her job in a restaurant whilst at university (which took her from waitress to manager!) she went first into Marketing but has now found a job she loves (but would never have envisaged herself doing) as a Technology Consultant at Accenture. She urged the girls to try lots of things (including making coffee and photocopying in work experience or as an intern) and to be curious, make connections and be patient. She is delighted to see that The Abbey is promoting mentoring and contact between the alumnae (referring to the upcoming after-work drinks at PwC and the establishment of a Linked In group).
Anna left in 1993 and has had a varied journey that has taken her to Australia and Guatemala and to combine her love of Art with a flair for business and she now runs her own company. Her core messages were that learning is a lifelong thing, there will be failures along the way and the girls should strive to find a 'good fit'.
Eyes Wide Opened is a life coach company that works with The Abbey on a series of workshops. They discovered that in the audience there were many girls with no idea of what they wanted to be, but there were also those with a definite goal already – including a paediatric allergy specialist and a fashion designer! The most important thing is to find a career and working environment that suits your personality and skills and Mrs Robinson explained how The Abbey's programme enables them to start focussing on this. From Morrisby profiling to Aspire talks, visiting Sixth Form and universities and getting advice from Abbey alumnae and staff at various events the girls are on a well-supported pathway to university and beyond.