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CoPE learners raise career aspirations through jobs fair

West Lakes Academy, Egremont, Cumbria, delivers a ‘learn to learn’ course for Year 10 pupils as an alternative to studying a language. ASDAN’s Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (CoPE) qualification plays a key role in the course, helping students develop personal skills and engage them in education. Hannah Nicholson, senior learning support assistant at the school, reports.

CoPE has enabled students to develop vital skills needed to access the curriculum and has allowed them to build their confidence and feel successful. We currently have 24 students undertaking CoPE Level 1 and they love the variety of challenges and the hands-on learning they provide. They enjoy opportunities to learn useful skills in real-life contexts.

As part of CoPE Module 8: Work-related Learning and Enterprise, we recently ran a jobs fair at the school with the aim of raising career aspirations for the learners. The students researched different jobs of their choice: one job was aspirational and the other more realistic. For example, one learner’s aspirational job was becoming a professional footballer and his more attainable one was becoming a sports instructor.

The learners prepared materials and displayed them on a table they were given. Teachers, senior members of staff, teaching assistants and office staff visited each table to find out about each student’s chosen professions and the education pathway required to achieve those ambitions.

The learners answered questions from staff members they had never previously spoken to and they all did really well in the challenge. They had all done their research and it was clear that they were very motivated by the activity. It helped them see the link between education and the world of work more clearly as well as investigating employment options.

The jobs fair also helped the learners improve their social skills. They worked very well as a team ­– they helped each other out and showed great initiative in making the challenge a success for everyone.

Undertaking CoPE has been very beneficial for these students in terms of engaging them in learning. They have responded so well to being given more responsibility in challenges such as the jobs fair.

Another successful activity learners have accredited through CoPE is developing the academy’s garden. Students have been involved in maintaining this outdoor space, as well as planting and harvesting produce, which has been cooked and served in the canteen. Students have also sold produce and items they've made, such as green tomato chutney, to raise funds to put back into maintaining the garden.

CoPE allows teachers to provide students with an engaging, fun and meaningful learning journey, which equips them with vital skills that are transferable to other curriculum areas, as well as daily life. The course can be tailored to suit individual needs, providing students with a personalised learning experience.