6 March, 2022
In November at our OAT Annual Conference, we launched an innovative online careers portal to help students make well-informed and aspirational choices about their futures.
This is part of OAT’s wider vision to enhance the careers-related learning experiences of young people. The portal supports not just OAT students but young people across the UK who are looking to find out more about their options. Funded through the Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC), the purpose of OAT Futures is to create meaningful, careers-related opportunities, educate students about their options and choices, and support the development of their employability skills.
OAT Futures also aims to broaden horizons and raise awareness of the career opportunities available throughout England, thereby removing geographical knowledge barriers, which can present obstacles to students and prevent them from taking those next steps. The portal is based around an interactive map where pupils can browse through the different careers and watch short films of people doing each role. Alongside the films, each page contains a summary and advice points from the featured individuals, as well as a description of the qualifications they took.
The first phase in the development of the OAT Futures careers portal focused on maritime careers, as many of OAT’s academies are in areas of significant disadvantage, including deprived coastal regions. OAT was able to commission the development of the new careers portal with the funding from CEC, and the portal builds on the Maritime Futures initiative, which integrates maritime learning and deep employer engagement into a mainstream secondary curriculum.
OAT Futures has already established strong links with lots of maritime employers who have been instrumental in supporting students into interesting, inspiring careers that simultaneously strengthen the local economy.
The second phase of OAT Futures focuses on OAT alumni. It is important for OAT students to be inspired by people who were previously in their shoes, and who can explain to them what steps they took to progress to where they are now.
Some current highlights from the OAT Futures website include Tim, former student of City of Norwich School, who is now a Dyson engineer as part of Dyson’s Degree Apprenticeship Programme, and Nafeesa, a former student of George Salter Academy, who now works as an associate in corporate finance at Deloitte. There are already nearly a hundred films available to watch on the portal, and the Trust is continuing to build the database with more and more inspirational individuals featuring their career paths, on the website. We would be really interested in hearing from companies within our regions to showcase their careers on OAT Futures.
The OAT Futures portal is available online here.
Nick Hudson, chief executive officer, said: “OAT Futures has enabled us to really enhance our careers provision across the Trust, and we are already beginning to see the impact it’s having on our students. We want to create aspirational pathways for them to follow, and a big part of that is ensuring there are role models to look up to who they can see themselves in. No one fits this bill better than our excellent alumni, who are helping to demonstrate the wide scope of opportunities available.
“We’re so proud to be able to show such a wide variety of options and demonstrate to OAT students that there is a fulfilling career out there for everyone. We hope that OAT Futures will help not just our students, but young people throughout the UK to find the career that works for them.”
Rachel Kitley, principal at Cowes Enterprise College said: “The level of engagement we’ve had from our students in OAT Futures has been brilliant and getting them interested in a greater range of careers will bring long-term benefits locally too.
“This initiative is helping to pave the way towards a new attitude to careers and the guidance around it, which equips students for the future while opening them up to a range of out-of-the-box possibilities.”
James Ward, CEO and founder at Marine Resources said: “It’s been a pleasure working on these initiatives to get more students involved in marine careers and find out what they enjoy and what is available to them.
“There is such a huge scope for work in this sector, and it caters to a real variety of skillsets and interests. The main thing is to ensure students know there is more out there than your conventional career paths, and to give them the confidence and support to pursue other options.
“It is great to see how OAT Futures is helping to expand students’ horizons and demonstrate the breadth of exciting and stimulating career opportunities there are for them locally. I look forward to seeing lots of OAT students putting their stamp on the marine world in the years to come!”
Peter Morton, Wight Shipyard CEO said: “We’re very proud to be part of the work being undertaken around careers prospects for young people and maritime careers in particular. OAT Futures is a great initiative in the way it works to expand the opportunities available for young people and open their eyes to the types of jobs out there.”
“From an employer perspective, a scheme like OAT Futures not only helps to inspire our young people, but also supports with filling skills gaps in local areas and ensuring the sustainability and longevity of important UK industries.”