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Pupils at a Dumfries and Galloway primary school have been expanding their career horizons with the help of new digital career education tools.

Beattock Primary School was one of the first in Scotland to start using My World of Work’s new I Can tools and resources for children in primary 5 to 7 and their teachers.

My World of Work is Skills Development Scotland’s (SDS) award-winning career information and advice web service. It is used in secondary schools, colleges and supports the work of SDS careers advisers.

Acting Depute Head Teacher Stephen Frame introduced My World of Work to the school after seeing its potential to support the employability learning aims in Beattock’s School Improvement Plan.

Stephen said: “Children begin absorbing ideas about careers from a very young age.

“They may not be able to articulate it, but they’re taking on ideas from the world around them about what their future might look like.

“We’re using My World of Work, and the I Can tools, to help them to broaden those horizons and really dream big for their future.”

The rural school, which has 53 pupils ranging from nursery to Primary 7, recently held its first Employability Week.

My World of Work was used as an integral part of the week.

Its personality quiz Animal Me, which is based on Myers-Briggs personality principles, acted as an icebreaker and started conversations with the children on their skills and qualities and how these might relate to work.

The Skills Builder helped pupils see how the skills and values they learned inside and outside of school link to the world of work and enabled them to begin building their own skills profiles.

While Stephen and his colleagues used the range of My World of Work’s ready-to-use lesson plans to support sessions encouraging pupils to think about why we work, what employability skills and personalities are and the different routes into a job.

Stephen said: “All the teaching resources and lesson plans are already linked to Curriculum for Excellence, so we could just download them and use them straight away and have now built them into newly developed programmes of teaching and learning.

“That’s a major time saver for us and a real advantage which My World of Work offers.”

Pupils also took time to write to local businesses to introduce themselves and talk about the skills they could offer. The school is hoping to get replies which will allow them to build closer links with local employers.

Stephen said: “Linking skills and values to the world of work was a really important one for us and we held an interview masterclass with our primary 7 pupils to give real life context to the discussions.

"We had a student teacher on placement in our school whose previous background was in HR management. She was a fantastic role model for our young people and was able to bring her employability knowledge and expertise to build their confidence, whilst developing her teaching practice.

“Their younger classmates got involved asking questions and we used resources from across My World of Work to support the pupils through the exercise.”

Stephen and his staff are now sharing their experiences with other schools in their cluster - Moffat Primary School and Moffat Academy.

 

He said: “By the end of the week we could see that pupils were no longer thinking about work in abstract terms and had really tapped in to the variety and opportunity ahead for them.

“This means when our young people leave us to move on to high school they will be well prepared for the career conversations they’ll start having with teachers and SDS careers advisers.

“Another advantage to My World of Work is that pupils are developing their computing skills just by using it. Now we’ve found My World of Work I Can, and all the resources, I can see we will use it year after year.”

SDS Partner Development & Integration Executive Susan McLaren thinks all primary schools could benefit as Beattock Primary has.

Susan said: “Stephen and his colleagues put a lot of thought into their use of My World of Work and were downloading a new classroom activity every day during their employability week.

“Their experience shows our career education resources are adaptable and work with whatever lessons are a focus for schools, as well as saving time for teachers.”

Stephen added: “We used our employability week as inspiration for a recent charity dress up day, asking the children to dress as whatever they want to be when they grow up.

“The fact we had quite a few superheroes shows me they really are aiming high!”

Find out more about My World of Work's tools for primary 5 to 7 pupils.

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