Keep your feet on the ground, kids

28th September 2007 at 01:00
Manchester offers realistic careers advice for pupils whose heads are lost in celebrity clouds

Not many 10-year-olds harbour dreams of becoming an accountant, but a new scheme is aiming to give primary pupils realistic aspirations.

Teachers in Manchester are being trained how to deliver the term-long Higher Futures 4 U programme, which involves trips to the city's universities and workplaces.

Stuart Herrington, a former head and leader of the project, said: "There is a great gap between where children are now and where they want to be in future.

"Children want to be footballers, celebrities, singers. They don't know about all the things around them. Manchester has a thriving economy, but will these children have the skills to access it?"

A survey by the London School of Economics found the most popular ambition adults had as children was to be an adventurer, followed by teacher, pop star, sports star and actor.

Mr Herrington and colleagues have organised teacher training days and one-day workshops in which children learn about future job options through fun activities. The pupils then visit either Manchester University or Manchester Metropolitan University, where they go to classes and meet students. The children also visit employers, such as the Urbis museum or the BBC, and meet the staff.

Mr Herrington said: "The people they meet talk about their achievements and setbacks. The key thing is to introduce the notion of resilience."

A graduation and careers event is held at the end of the programme, this year at the Royal Northern College of Music.

Last year, 44 classes in Manchester were involved.

Mr Herrington, former head of Medlock Primary in Brunswick, Manchester, said the project was not designed to shatter dreams.

"It's about children realising if you have got skills and qualifications you are going to have choices," he said. "I want to make sure they have a back-up plan."

The scheme is funded through the Government's Aim Higher programme.


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