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Camden hosts first ever primary school careers day for pupils to learn about job market

Nyah and Agnes, both 10, from Torriano Junior School, with NHS representative school nurse team leader Sally Lydamore at the Camden Primary Schools Careers event. Picture: Polly Hancock Nyah and Agnes, both 10, from Torriano Junior School, with NHS representative school nurse team leader Sally Lydamore at the Camden Primary Schools Careers event. Picture: Polly Hancock

Saturday, April 5, 2014
5:03 PM

It’s a question that sometimes even adults struggle with: What do I want to do when I grow up?

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Mary Mungenga and Emi Zajmi, both 11, from St Mary and St Pancras School wearing fire safety equipment brought along by the Francis Crick Institute. Also pictured is Phd student Cristina Minieri and Simon Caidan, head of safety at Francis Crick Institute. Picture: Polly HancockMary Mungenga and Emi Zajmi, both 11, from St Mary and St Pancras School wearing fire safety equipment brought along by the Francis Crick Institute. Also pictured is Phd student Cristina Minieri and Simon Caidan, head of safety at Francis Crick Institute. Picture: Polly Hancock

But children as young as nine in Camden have already been told to start thinking about their career paths and how to take steps towards achieving their dream job.

More than 200 pupils from 23 Camden primary schools listened to guest speakers, including a 14-year-old game developer, give an insight into their jobs at Camden’s first careers conference for primary schoolchildren.

Bavaani Nanthabalan, headteacher of Torriano Junior School, Kentish Town, and executive headteacher of Netley Primary School, Euston, ran the conference in partnership with Camden Council.

She said it is never too early for children to start thinking about their career options.

(From back) Darran Garnham, Moshi Monsters head of business, Yonaton Raz-Fridman, founder of Kano, and Jordan Casey, 14-year-old gamimg entrepreneur. Picture: Polly Hancock(From back) Darran Garnham, Moshi Monsters head of business, Yonaton Raz-Fridman, founder of Kano, and Jordan Casey, 14-year-old gamimg entrepreneur. Picture: Polly Hancock

“We have careers fairs going on in the secondary sector, but I feel that it is a little too late,” she said. “We need to start in primary schools.

“It’s really important that we start with children and make them aware of the opportunities out there and the experiences they could have in their career.

“It’s not just about going to university and getting a job that way, but learning about getting apprenticeships and other kinds of opportunities.”

Children, aged from nine to 11, took part in workshops run by businesses at the conference last week, including Camden Town arts venue the Roundhouse and Goldsmiths jewellers.

They also visited stalls run by London Zoo, the Metropolitan Police and the NHS, among others.

The pupils heard from a spoken word artist, an illustrator, the chief executive of a computing company, and Darran Garnham, a development officer who grew popular online children’s game Moshi Monsters into a global brand.

They also listened to 14-year-old Irish gaming entrepreneur Jordan Casey talk about how he learned to code at the age of nine and has built his own gaming app, which flew to the top of the iTunes app charts in Ireland.

Ms Nanthabalan said: “Some of the children come from homes where they don’t have rich experiences.

“It’s not going to be a problem for some, but many children don’t have the same opportunities and they need to start [looking at jobs] much earlier.

“That’s why the strapline for the conference is: ‘Steps I take, marks I make’.

“The idea is that children don’t just come to the conference, and then don’t understand and go away again, but that they become career champions.”

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