Almost 150 students from St Michael’s Grammar School are taking part in work experience this week across a range of Northern Irish businesses in an attempt to discover suitable career areas for their future.
The entirety of third year in St Michael’s has been working to secure appropriate placements since October.
Students are in a wide range of businesses across the country including St Francis’ Primary School in Lurgan as well as placements in accounting firms, hospitals and the government offices.
St Michael’s Careers Advisor Jennifer O’Connor considers the week as a valuable time for the young people
“Work experience gives the students a taste of what it’s like to work in the real world and helps the students determine whether or not their chosen course is right for them,” she said.
Mrs O’Connor also said that the week offers an opportunity for students to assess their chosen career, something which Year 13 student Fergus Douglas is hoping to do as he completes his placement in the pharmaceutical company Almac.
He said: “I hope to get a real experience of a career in pharmaceuticals and want to know what it’s like to work in a lab.
“I’d also like to talk to the workers in Almac and find out how and why they entered this career.”
The week’s placement is also an effort by the Lurgan grammar school to enhance the career possibilities of the students.
Work experience is widely considered to aid young people in gaining a place on university courses as well as helping to address the youth unemployment problem which continues to play a dominant role for Northern Ireland’s youth.
The week lasts from February 3-7 and on return to school the students of Year 13 will be completing a presentation on their week at work.
One Year 14 student, Adam Bunting, who completed a placement at Bombardier Aerospace last year, called it a “beneficial” experience which allowed him to learn new skills and adapt his career plan.
He said, “I initially wanted to become an aeronautical engineer but having spent a week at Bombardier I’m now considering mechanical engineering.”