Former Haverstock School girl returns to help boost pupils’ career prospects

Haverstock School intern Kerry Drew. Picture: Jonathan Goldberg.

Haverstock School intern Kerry Drew. Picture: Jonathan Goldberg. - Credit: Archant

A former Camden schoolgirl has returned to her alma mater to help prepare pupils for the future as part of a special careers guidance programme.

Kerry Drew, 20, has been working at Haverstock School, in Haverstock Hill, Chalk Farm, as part of a three-month paid internship during her summer break from De Montfort University, in Leicester, where she is studying for a degree in film studies and media and communication.

She is one of 96 former Haverstock pupils to have passed through the school’s Career Academy, a two-year programme offering sixth formers career mentoring and a six-week paid internship with various companies in their summer break between Years 12 and 13.

Kerry, who lives off Harmood Street in Chalk Farm, has spent her summer holiday helping Year 12 pupils in the school’s three Career Academies specialising in business, media and science, and technology, engineering and maths.

She said: “It’s been a privilege to be back at Haverstock. It feels like coming home. It’s meant I can help support current sixth form students because I was in that position myself applying for university.”

As part of her internship, which finishes at the end of the month, Kerry has been visiting Year 12 pupils during their internships at firms including Hewlett Packard, NBC Universal Pictures and Santander, as well as Camden Council.

In addition to an internship, Haverstock’s Career Academy gives students the chance to attend lectures, trips and events, as well as access to mentoring from an industry specialist for the duration of sixth form.

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The programme, set up in 2006, is run by the school’s enterprise development manager, Kay Ali. Funding for all other aspects of the scheme comes from business partners of the school, including Santander.

Each year, the Career Academy recruits 45 Year 12 pupils at the school who must be studying for an A-level in one of the academies’ specialist subjects. Pupils must submit an application form and go through an interview process to join the programme.

Kerry added: “The academy helped me in confidence and employability and gave me guidance and support in applying to university and writing my CV. I’m so grateful – it really pushed me to succeed.”

Haverstock is the only school in Camden to offer such a programme in the face of cuts to career guidance services nationally.

Last month, children’s charity Barnardo’s warned that changes to careers guidance could “squander” the futures of young people.

The replacement of face-to-face guidance with online or phone-based services after cuts to the Connexions service has been “wholly inadequate”, a report by the charity charged. Many teenagers were unaware of the career services now available, it said.

A Camden Council spokesman said the authority had “maintained a Connexions service workforce to deliver information, advice, guidance and support to young people identified as being at risk of being not in education, employment and training”.

She said the service also “offers face-to-face advice both in schools and the community”.