The Friday before half term 400 students, parents and guidance teachers gathered at Fettes for our Higher Education and Career Exploration Day. We were delighted to have 160 S5 students with us from Edinburgh High Schools alongside our Lower Sixth Form students and their parents.
The aim of the day was to provide insight and inspiration for the higher education journey beyond school. We had expert speakers, a well-attended Higher Education & Careers Fair and the opportunity for students to talk informally to Fettes parents and Old Fettesians representing a huge array of professions who had kindly volunteered to provide informal advice from their own perspectives.
The day began with a welcome from the Head, Mrs Helen Harrison. This was followed by the Opening Panel Session: Opportunities - too many to choose? By Co-Founders of Days, Mike Gammell (Inv-Ki 2001-2007) and Duncan Keith (Inv-Ki 2000-2006), chaired by Mrs Victoria Chandler our Head of Sixth Form.
The panel conversation was very informative and relaxed putting all the students at ease as they heard about the varied career paths that Mike and Duncan had taken from school to founding Days, 0.0% beer, now the biggest beer brand on TikTok just over 2 years after launch. There was a key message about innovation and learning from failure and the recommendation to try a whole range of jobs to develop lots of skills as well as get a feel for preferred work environments.
Great to have young entrepreneurs as speakers rather than the more traditional careers. Gave modern and youthful perspective on todays and tomorrows careers. – Fettes Parent
Our next session was on Choosing your Course in Higher Education, led by expert Jack O’Toole, Student Recruitment Manager at Newcastle University. Jack’s session covered the huge range of things to think about from the type of course and how it is taught, to the student social life and types of accommodation. Including cost of living and availability of accommodation types, and whether a campus university or an integrated university is the right choice for you. This session left everyone with lots to think about just in time for the Higher Education & Careers Fair that followed.
96% of our survey respondents rated this presentation as ‘highly relevant’ or ‘useful’. Several respondents left a comment of ‘He was brilliant’.
Over 50 stand holders joined us for the morning, 27 universities from across the UK along with GAP year organisations and employers. Students enjoyed finding out from universities as far away as Exeter and London’s Imperial College as well as from those closer to home such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle and Durham.
Universities had information about their courses, grade requirements, and course overview – S5 student, Firrhill High School
These were my first meetings with universities face-to-face, I got a better idea of the university application expectations – L6th student, Fettes College
Speaking to uni personnel about courses & admissions was invaluable – Parent, Fettes College
For students considering Oxbridge or studying in the US, we had some bespoke optional talks. Attendees found these very beneficial.
Scottish residents also had the option of to attend a very informative talk from SAAS (Student Awards Agency Scotland) providing information on access to finance for tuition fees and access to support towards living expenses.
We were joined by forty parents and Old Fettesians from a huge range of professions who spent time over coffee chatting to students about their career journeys and answering questions or offering informal advice.
I really enjoyed the whole fair and found it very helpful, particularly the meet the experts. L6th student, Fettes College
After a busy morning all 400 attendees were captivated by the impactful presentation by our final expert speaker of the day, Mike Nicholson, Director of Recruitment, Admissions and Participation from the University of Cambridge and Vice Chair of UCAS. Mike’s presentation on How to make your application to university competitive was extremely useful. Students were able to hear about the competitive undergraduate landscape, the importance of really considering why they want to study the course they are applying for, and how to articulate that clearly on their UCAS form. Students were encouraged to consider their relevant life experiences and academic experiences to make a quality application. Mike’s delivery was entertaining with anecdotes about readiness for independent living away from home as well as reassurance that most 17 years olds really don’t know what career they want at this stage in their lives.
87% of our post event survey respondents rated this presentation as Highly Relevant.
Great presentation from a hugely knowledgeable speaker. Straightforward guidance which was put across in a very empowering way. Parent, Fettes College.
We are exceptionally grateful to the many speakers, experts and stand holders who travelled to Edinburgh to be with us. All of the attendees got a great deal from the day which they will be able to use in the coming months as they develop and refine their thoughts on their steps beyond school.
Mrs Caroline Davies, Teacher/ Head of Higher Education and Careers at Fettes College, said: I am pleased that we have hosted such a well-received Higher Education & Career Exploration Day, it is an incredibly helpful event for our students and students from Edinburgh High Schools, providing them with additional knowledge to help them to make decisions about their Higher Education choices. This can be a daunting and stressful time for those in Lower Sixth /S5 / Y12. With our range of speakers, HE stand holders and experts we are glad to have provided the opportunity for students to take the time on Friday morning to focus on their next steps.