3rd February 2020
Young people taste film making during careers week
Young people found out more about working in the digital and creative industries and tried out their film making skills during Careers Week. With the talented help of local lad Paul Stephenson, he inspired young people by describing his journey from struggling in school to becoming a journeyman photographer and filmmaker working on the biggest hits of the day like Peaky Blinders. He also gave pupils a sneak preview of the new release Waiting for Anya, and a chance to watch the behind the scenes interviews with stars like Noah Schnapp and Anjelica Huston.
As part of the day pupils got a chance to use Paul's equipment that he carries on jobs around the world. S1 and S2 wrote directed and filmed their own video shorts during a full morning workshop with Paul. The different groups created horror stories, bank heists and debates about the strengths of men and women and got to use lights, props, cameras and audio equipment in and around school. S3 and S4 took part in an afternoon workshop setting up a studio debate on whether or not mobile phones should be allowed in schools. All of our young people performed great roles: whether as a sound engineering, cameraman or as the leading lady. Paul also works with young people with autism at Inspired Support in Gateshead. They are learning about film editing and production skills and will now be compiling the young people's work into a short film for school.
The sessions were a great opportunity to help young people find out about a little bit about the digital and creative industry, hear inspirational stories, and help choose if this is the direction for them. Thank you so much to Paul for his help and support in running the day.
Coordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service, the ‘Look Beyond’ week celebrated the diversity and value that apprenticeships bring to employers, apprentices and communities across England today. National Apprenticeship Week is a flagship moment in the calendar year for supporters and ambassadors of apprenticeships. The theme ‘Look Beyond’ served as a rallying cry for the community to showcase the true meaning of diversity within apprenticeships, including:
  • calling on young people to look beyond traditional routes into employment and explore the diversity of career options and industries available to them through apprenticeships
  • calling on employers to look beyond traditional hiring routes and shout about the value of employing apprentices and diversifying their workforce
  • calling on parents and teachers to look beyond old preconceptions around apprenticeships, building understanding of the true value they bring, and sharing this with young people.
Particularly for our young people, this theme is a positive contribution towards improving the number of vacancies that apprentices with SEND fill, and show employers that they can offer great productivity along with new perspectives and awareness when an employer is prepared to give them their apprenticeship start. 
As part of our careers week, pupils and parents were given a presentation about being an apprentice in Northumberland. Richard Henderson and Nina Livings, both from the Apprenticeship team at Northumberland County Council, covered the apprenticeship processes for searching for, applying for and securing a place, as well as all the forms of mentoring support available for apprentices that need extra help and support.
The most inspirational part of the presentation came from Scott Butters, an apprentice who works in a learning centre in Bedlington. Scott openly described the challenges he faced in coping with his autism in school and his worries about how he would find a career that suited him. He was truly inspirational in telling pupils and parents about how he overcame those fears and how he has become a productive and very capable member of staff. Through a question and answer session with Richard Henderson, and then questions from the pupils and parents, Scott revealed how he progressed through the stages of his apprenticeship on to full employment.
A group of students took part in an industry visit to Tyneview Retail Park in Prudhoe on Thursday 6th February. The visit provided an introduction to job roles in construction and engineering, an insight into the health and safety practices on a large scale construction project, and the chance to look at the site plans and progress on this exciting project to construct a new retail park for Aldi, Home Bargains, Greggs and McDonalds.

The Robertson Staff at the site were fabulous hosts, particularly Project Manager Neil Metcalf and Community Manager Anna Bramley. Neil had even constructed a special viewing platform so students could see an aerial view of the site. Students have been invited back later in the year to see the site when construction is further along and it is safe to walk on site. After a presentation from Robertson staff, pupils were also set a fun construction challenge to make cubes from complex foam pieces and we were delighted to see Charlotte coming home in first place for the girls! Sincere thanks go to all at Robertson for making the visit happen.