Grammar School, Donaghmore
Educating For the Future Since 1922
Careers Education Information and Guidance (CEIAG)
Careers education is an integral part of the curriculum at St. Joseph’s and has a vital role in guiding our young people towards a place of employment in the future. In the first three years, careers education is delivered through Education for Employability lessons and in Year 10 this assists the students with making informed subject choices for Key Stage 4 study. Our Year 10 pupils also receive detailed careers information from their subject teachers and Head of Departments as well as attending a Year 10 options evening where parents and pupils receive detailed presentations from the Head of Careers, Mr P Corrigan, and Head of Curriculum, Mrs O McCourt. Our school curriculum team liaise closely with the careers department and are determined to ensure a learning pathway which maximises both the learner’s potential and their career options. In Year 12 all students have careers lessons which seeks to inform them of the various training, work and study options available to them at 16 years of age. Year 12 students also undertake valuable work experience which helps to increase their knowledge of specific jobs and work places. Year 12 pupils also take part in an A-level subject choice afternoon and mini careers fayre where they are able to engage with subject teachers, A-level pupils and businesses to help inform their choice for progression at Post-16. Each year group avails of a dedicated careers workshop delivered by Young Enterprise N.I. where they engage in a range of interactive activities to explore a theme relating to the world of work. Our careers officer, Nuala Madden, has a very important role in school delivering individual tailored advice to our pupils at important transition points like Year 10, Year 12 and Year 14. The school is a member of the Dungannon Area Learning Community where careers staff meet regularly to develop resources and skills to enhance the teaching of careers in their schools.
Careers staff also regularly attend events organised by Mid-Ulster Council to enable them to stay fully informed of career and skill needs in our local area. Throughout our CEIAG programme in school there is widespread commitment to capacity building in terms of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and STEM CEIAG (Careers Education Information Advice and Guidance). A-level students avail of interviews in August by our Senior Management Team at the beginning of Year 13 and Year 14 to help guide subject choice and align it with the pupil’s specific career ambitions. Year 13 and 14 pupils have Careers timetabled in classes and have individual attention and consultation as required in the careers suite. Our Year 13 pupils receive detailed presentations from Ulster University, Queen’s University, Scottish Universities, Universities in the Republic of Ireland, and South West College. Work experience is also organised for Year 13 pupils in term three to further develop their knowledge of specific careers and work place environments. Year 14 pupils receive presentations from South West College on Foundation Degrees and Higher Level Apprenticeship opportunities as well as from Student Finance N.I. Recently we have introduced a training programme for life at university, which seeks to fully inform our Year 14 pupils of the many life challenges university can present. The vast majority of our pupils progress to third level education where they graduate and gain employment in an array of public and private sector settings emerging to become valuable employees, entrepreneurs and valuable contributors to society.
As part of our partnership with Catalyst NI and other leading industry figures all of our Year 13 students complete the Generation Innovation work experience programme. Generation Innovation is an innovative approach that reimagines traditional work experience and energises the imaginations and aspirations of our students by increasing their knowledge of 21st-century skills and awareness of future careers in innovation. Students receive Design Thinking training and learn how to work as part of a team. The new skills are then put to the test to solve a company challenge, developing a solution before pitching it to the partner company and their fellow students
By linking with Catalyst we aim to inform, upskill and empower our students to thrive as the leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs of the future.
Generation Innovation offers our students the opportunity to develop a range of transferrable skills:
Build Emotional Resilience
Learn Problem-Solving Skills
Presentation and Pitching Skills
Design-led Thinking Skills
Year 13 students in St Joseph’s are in the privileged position of having been selected to complete an Impact Day as part of their Generation Innovation experience.
An Impact Day is a one-day, fully immersive design-thinking experience for our Year 13 students facilitated by industry specialists from Catalyst NI. Through this programme students become skilled in the design-thinking methodology which leads them from identifying a problem, working through several stages to iterate and design a prototype/solution.
On this journey, our students learn important employability related skills, including user-centred design, working in a team and critical thinking. The impact day will also help foster softer, intangible elements such as empathy, emotional intelligence, and resilience.
“St Joseph’s Grammar School, Donaghmore is committed to being at the forefront of innovation and we work hard to foster high quality and meaningful links with industry to ensure that our students achieve the very best opportunities on offer.”
In the 2021-22 academic year we were delighted to be one of a small number of schools to successfully secure a place on the ‘Catalyst Schools’ programme. Catalyst Schools is a Design Thinking programme for post-primary schools that seeks to empower school leaders by giving them the skills to create a culture of innovation and deeper learning across the school.
A number of our staff secured professional learning fellowships with Catalyst through which they gained an opportunity to develop a ‘hacking’ and equity mind-set and applied a design thinking-based approach to their practice in school. As a school we are excited to have embarked upon this journey through which we aim to transform our school culture to better prepare all students for post-secondary education, career, and civic life.
Through this programme we are proactively action planning to ensure that the practice across St Joseph’s remains cutting edge and that the most up to date research in relation to teaching and learning and pastoral care provision is implemented across the school. We are proactively strengthening St Joseph’s connection to local industry to ensure our students are ready to enter the work force of tomorrow.