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Mapping out a future

Patrick Talbot previews the Royal Geographical Society's careers symposium

What can I do with a geography degree?" The annual Careers for Geographers Symposium convenes at the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR, on December 5 to offer answers to teachers, sixth-form pupils and undergraduates.

There will be five 20-minute presentations by geography graduates on how they have used their degree discipline along their career pathways. An afternoon tea break will enable visitors to talk informally to the presenters, and to graduates from an even wider spectrum of professions. Literature and information about careers and geography will be available. A range of organisations will send recruitment material and the conference pack will add further information.

The five main speakers have been chosen to represent a cross section of careers. Jason Reeve from E R Mapper is representing the cartography and information technology of GIS (Geographical Information Systems). Mark Campbell will talk about Himalayan Kingdoms, a specialist travel company. Barnaby Briggs will be speaking as energy and transport policy officer for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Statistics indicate that the skills acquired by geographers make them versatile in the employment market. Figures for 1993 suggested that almost half of geography graduates going into permanent UK employment entered administration and operational management; financial work; and sales, marketing and buying. Other speakers at the symposium will therefore represent commerce and finance. Richard Sedgwick and Helen O'Hara joined British Airways via the graduate trainee programme. William Rawley works for legal firm Simmons Simmons.

I have attended several times both as a geography teacher and as head of careers and the pupils I have taken along have found the session very helpful.

The Careers for Geographers Symposium is only one of the initiatives supervised by the education committee, including: * An annual day conference for A-level students, with guest speakers on the syllabus and subject areas.

* An annual teachers' in-service training day, providing new material on current issues in geography, and supported by an exhibition.

* Annual awards to the best A-level geography students of each exam board and the Alfred Steers Dissertation Prize to the best undergraduate dissertation submitted.

* Education packs from major overseas research projects.

* The Directory of University Geography Courses. Full details of every UK geography department, course details, typical A-level grade requirements and degree course structure. Price Pounds 7.50.

* Educational corporate membership is open to schools and colleges at Pounds 65 and Pounds 85. Individuals aged 16 to 25 can obtain discounted membership as Associate Fellows.

* More details from Alison Glazebrook, tel: 0171 589 5466

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