There are many parents, Old Tonbridgians and friends of Tonbridge School who have expressed a desire to become involved in helping boys of the school by giving careers advice, offering work experience and speaking at careers events. The Tonbridge Society Careers Mentoring Scheme brings together these offers of knowledge, time and expertise.
Tonbridge provides a first rate all-round education, usually leading to a top university course, but increasingly prospective employers are looking for more. The CBI puts it like this:
‘Businesses want graduates who not only add value, but who have the skills to help transform their organisation in the face of continuous and rapid economic and technological change. All graduates – whatever their degree discipline – need to be equipped with employability skills. Employability covers a broad range of non-academic or softer skills and abilities which are of value in the workplace. It includes the ability to work in a team; a willingness to demonstrate initiative and original thought; self-discipline in starting and completing tasks to a deadline.’
The best way to gain employability is through work experience, which for Tonbridgians starts at the end of their third year (Year 11), when after their GCSEs a compulsory week’s placement is arranged for each boy with the school’s involvement. Other placements are also arranged for the Sixth Formers in the holidays, and we continue to help them through their time at university and after graduation.
We have found the best placements are those with Old Tonbridgians, parents and friends of the school. We are keen to build on our success in this area and would be delighted to have as many diverse and interesting opportunities to offer boys as possible. For some professions work experience is essential (architecture, law, medicine etc.) but it is beneficial to all. Successful placements have been in the financial sector, engineering, media, veterinary and many more, and have even included assisting a ghillie on a Scottish estate! An added bonus is that boys can write and talk about their work experience as part of their university application, and on into their career.
The voices of people closely associated with Tonbridge School always have more resonance for the boys, and consequently they have the greatest impact in terms of enlightenment and motivation. We run a series of careers events, some annually and others on a three year rolling cycle, and we would be delighted to hear from those of you who would be interested in sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm for your area of work by giving a presentation.
In some cases a one-to-one relationship is beneficial to boys who are seeking to progress in a particular field of work. There are recent positive examples of this in public relations and law. On an individual basis we would like to be able to put boys in touch with members of the Tonbridge Society Mentoring Scheme who would be willing to give advice and guidance in their particular field, and make suggestions as to the best way to advance in a career in their field.
If you feel you would like to take part in this scheme, on any level, we would be grateful to hear from you. Please contact our Careers and Universities Adviser, Mrs Anna Rogers.