Tonbridge Grammar School Inaugural Careers Fair A Runaway Success

Parents, Teachers, Alumni and Volunteers from across Tonbridge and Sevenoaks came together on Wednesday, 6th February to fill the main hall at Tonbridge Grammar School for the school’s first careers fair. For almost two hours the Hall was “buzzing” as in excess of 150 students talked to over 40 high level professionals from professions as diverse as farming through to the City, dentistry and medicine to forensic cyber security, and local Government. 

The idea which was the brain child of Anna Firth, Parent Governor and local Councillor, in conjunction with Pippa Blackstone, the school’s Development Officer, was to provide the school’s senior students with the opportunity to discuss and develop their ideas about University options and possible future careers with successful professionals from a range of fields in an informal, fun and friendly setting.

When I first signed up to the Careers Fair, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t know if it would be useful or even interesting. Even when I first looked at the list of visiting professionals, I still wasn’t sure I would find someone I really wanted to talk to. However, as soon as I sat down at the first desk, I was so relieved that I had signed up to participate. I thought I knew a lot about the kind of job I want to do when I am older and the world of finance. I couldn’t have been more wrong. There were so many different roles represented at the evening from accountants, financial planners and insolvency experts in the finance field to dentists, farmers, lawyers, priests, journalists, product designers and surgeons. Every single person I spoke to gave me a vast amount of great advice. I now have a bank of contacts I will definitely be calling upon. The whole evening had a great informal atmosphere and I was amazed at how much I learnt. Everyone who attended, whether they had a specific career path in mind or not, found the evening extremely useful and enjoyed talking to such friendly professionals. I for one would definitely recommend it to all who get the opportunity to attend.
— Sophie Capewell, TGS Student
I am delighted that so many parents were prepared to give up their time to come and talk to the students about their future University and employment careers and there was no doubt from the sense of excitement in the Hall how much the students were getting out of it. Schools can talk to students about careers and point them in the right direction but there is no substitute for sitting down and chatting face to face with someone actually doing the job of your choice. Equally, importantly, the fair gave students the opportunity to explore career options that they might never have thought of and I am delighted that Tonbridge Grammar School is taking a leading local role in this important area.
— Rosemary Joyce, Head of Tonbridge Grammar School
The level of interest in Local Government and public service shown by the students at Tonbridge Grammar School was both impressive and invigorating. There is obviously a strong accent on community service at the school, that is reflected in the IB, and it was very encouraging to meet a cohort of students, so many of whom are destined for top Universities, interested in both local politics and local Government generally. It is obviously vital for the future of our communities that we engage young adults before they leave home and School and it is nice to see a local School leading the way.
— Councillor Peter Fleming, Leader of Sevenoaks District Council
Given the multitude of different career paths and University courses now open to young people I thought it was vital that students have an opportunity before they leave senior school to talk to a range of professionals about their careers who are not their parents! As other parents and staff agreed the idea of the TGS careers fair was born. The was to provide the senior students at the school with an opportunity to gather information about a number of different careers at the same time, to test their misconceptions in a non-threatening environment, and also to allow them a small opportunity to test their interview skills before attending University interviews. Judging from the numbers that attended and the level of noise in the Hall I think it is safe to say that the event was a success!
— Anna Firth, Parent Governor
I thoroughly enjoyed the Careers Fair last week and was most impressed with the maturity and outlook that the students displayed when discussing my areas of work. My view is that such fairs are an absolutely invaluable insight for the students into careers that they may otherwise only have discussed at a relatively superficial level. This decision they face is one of the biggest they’ll ever have to make and, for those who at this stage are still undecided about what they want to do, the fair provides unique access to the information that may help them make up their minds. Thank you to TGS for giving me the opportunity to take part in the fair. It was as useful and enjoyable for me as I hope it was for the girls that attended.
— John Paul Cavanna, Parent Volunteer