Portsmouth City Council launches Aspirations Week to drive up academic standards across the city

CHILDREN are being challenged to aspire to reach their career dreams as part of the Portsmouth first city-wide Aspirations Week.

Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 3:22 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 9:59 am
Children learning about the Fire Service at a previous Get Inspired event. Picture: Mike Storey www.mikestoreyphotography.co.uk

The event, which runs from January 20 to 24, will provide an opportunity for children to learn about the array of career opportunities which exist and to partake in interactive activities alongside professionals from over 50 different organisations.

Portsmouth City Council's cabinet member for education, Suzy Horton, said: ‘The week is about getting children to see beyond the horizon. It’s to inspire children, young people and adults to think about their futures and help them understand the steps they can take to ensure their success.’

Cllr Horton hopes the initiative can help drive up academic standards across the city.

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Wimbourne Primary School students during last year's pilot event.

‘It’s about developing city-wide career aspirations to raise standards. For many young people, qualifications are a means to opening doors. Hearing from professionals about what qualifications are required can help to give real purpose as to why they are learning certain subjects,’ she said.

The week follows a pilot hosted by Wimborne Junior School last year. Schools will receive visits from the Air Ambulance Service and martial arts fitness trainers, Gym01, see children dress in career themed costumes and provide family support sessions to enable parents to help their children’s learning.

The week has a three-stage approach with the first – what could we become? – targeting primary school pupils and the second – what do I do next? – looking to provide guidance for older children to achieve their career dreams.

The final stage – what else could I learn? – looks to target adults who may be thinking about a career change.

Portsmouth prepares for Aspirations Week 20 - 24 January 2020

Cllr Horton said: ‘The week is about inspiring people to aspire to follow their dreams whatever stage of life they are at.’

Adult specific events will include a national careers advice session at the Learning Place and support sessions for people with learning disabilities at Gunwharf Quays. Participants will be given help with life-skills, writing CVs and applying for jobs.

‘Aspirations Week is about becoming the best version of yourself,’ added Cllr Horton.

Coinciding with Aspirations Week, the Education Business Partnership South is holding the Get Inspired Careers Fair at Portsmouth Guildhall on Wednesday, January 22 for more than 1,400 children from 11 different schools.

EBP chief executive Cath Longhurst said: ‘This allows children to get involved in interactive activities as well asking questions to experts. For some children this can light that initial spark which can lead to a career path.’

Cath feels such events are particularly important in locations where there is a strong cultural history of traditional employment.

‘Portsmouth has a long history with the Royal Navy which leads to many important careers but this can result in a blinkered outlook in which some young people are not as aware of other careers,’ she added.