Careers conference inspires Suffolk’s education leaders

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Young people became interviewers and public speakers thanks to an inspiring conference in Ipswich which aimed to widen the understanding of inclusivity for careers leaders in Suffolk’s schools and colleges.

Student volunteers supported ‘Careers Reframed: Inclusivity Matters’ at The Hold, where they gained key employability skills such as public speaking, organisation and time management.

The event organised in partnership by New Anglia Careers Hub, Suffolk County Council and the Network for East Anglian Collaborative Outreach helped to broaden the understanding of the barriers facing young people in our county and challenge unconscious bias.

It is envisaged the conference will become an annual event, bringing together schools, colleges and other careers professionals who support the young people within our county.

Jenny Stockman, Careers Manager of Seckford Education Trust, commented: “Careers Reframed Conference was, as always, a welcome break from the somewhat isolated and sometimes frustrating world of careers in education. An opportunity to chat with fellow local careers practitioners and share concerns, good practice, ideas and empathy.

“My takeaway was a great deal more understanding about the different ways people experience environments such as the workplace and how young people can be better supported overcome barriers that may prevent them sustainably accessing opportunities.”

“The keynote speaker and workshop presenters were relevant, knowledgeable, and thought provoking. I’ve had many a follow-up conversation on the multiple facets of projected and self-inflicted unconscious bias. Whilst making some excellent new connections amongst stallholders in the marketplace, I also experienced a common consensus of opinion on the inadequacies of an increasingly academic curriculum. A thoroughly worthwhile and well organised day.”

A packed audience of professionals from education came together to hear about how they can embed equality, diversity and inclusion in their working practices and gain more ideas on how to be more inclusive when helping young people choose their next best step.

Keynote speaker Gulshan Kayembe urged the audience to reflect on the biases they may sometimes have and how to tackle it. Alongside this, Gulshan stressed how diverse the needs are in Suffolk with reference to her time at Suffolk Community Foundation and its ‘Hidden Needs’ report, last published in 2020.

David Ladbrook, New Anglia Careers Hub Strategic Lead, knows the importance of ensuring that Careers Leaders have knowledge and understanding of inclusivity and how to embed it within their practice.

“New Anglia Careers Hub supports over 130 schools and colleges across Norfolk and Suffolk to help every young person find their next best step,” he said.

“We know just how vital it is that inclusivity is a key part of the conversations we have not only with young people, but also employers so that everyone feels valued and respected when receiving careers advice and then applying their skills in their first role”.

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