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Careers day for school students is far from being a ‘car crash’

Date 6.06.2018

University of Northampton became a scene of action and discovery today when part of Park Campus was made to look as if a car crash had happened, for a careers day with a twist.

Around 200 secondary school students from across the county were invited to witness the immediate after effects of a simulated crash, including seeing those involved (played by students from the University’s acting course) being ‘cut out’ of the car by real-life members of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue.

Students also took part in a Fire Service workshop, being guided through the pathway to becoming a member of a fire crew as well as other careers within the Fire Service.

University of Northampton Policing students were also on hand, ‘arresting’ both the ‘drunk’ driver after breathalysing him and the other driver for not being insured.

Then, through a series of workshops with University of Northampton lecturers, some of which utilised those witness statements, the students looked at the roles various professions play in giving care and support afterwards or otherwise working with those involved in the crash.

The aim was for the students to get an in depth look at career options on offer at a University they might not be aware of and to challenge the perceptions they might hold about these professions.

The workshops were:

  • Health and Social Care (this workshop looked at post traumatic stress disorder)
  • Occupational Therapy (focusing on victim injuries and how they will impact on their lives)
  • Paramedic Science (this workshop focused on emergency health care at the scene)
  • Podiatry (students used podiatry equipment to investigate lower limb injuries)
  • Criminal Justice and Policing (students looked at forensics and scene management)
  • Sports Studies (focusing on exercise rehabilitation)
  • Midwifery (this workshop looked at the injuries sustained by the victim who is pregnant)
  • Journalism (students took turns operating TV cameras and interviewed accident victims
  • Psychology (students looked at eye witness testimony)
  • Human Bioscience (this focused on blood group matching and DNA fingerprinting).

The event was organised by the University’s Changemaker* Pathways team, with funding attached to the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP), through the Office for Students. This aims to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds get into higher education.

This second ‘car crash’ careers day follows a successful pilot last year. Following feedback from students, the event has been made bigger and better with the introduction of the Fire Service, new subject areas for them to explore and a big screen TV so everyone could follow the action at all times.

The students who took part came from the following schools: Abbeyfield School, Northampton Academy, Sir Christopher Hatton Academy, Parker E-Act, The Duston School, Kettering Science Academy, Weavers Academy, The Ferrers School.

Tim Dobson, Head of Schools Engagement at the University of Northampton, said: “Firstly, many thanks to all of the students for coming to our Park Campus to take part in our second ‘Car Crash Careers’ day. I think it’s fair to surmise that everyone had fun and learned a lot.

“The reason we held this careers day can be summed up in two words: inspire and aspire. We wanted to inspire students to take a deep, but enjoyable, look at the huge array of jobs on offer to them through courses at University of Northampton and for them to aspire to take that next step in their education. We look forward to possibly welcoming them at the University as their Higher Education Institution choice in just a few years’ time.”

Tina Casey,Teacher of Humanities and Drama at Abbeyfield School, said: “The students loved the hands-on approach of the workshops they attended. They liked having the opportunity to ask questions about the courses and the University in general. The day has inspired them to aim high!”

Claire Coles, Academy Services Assistant at Northampton Academy, added: “The feedback from the students on the return journey was so enthusiastic – a couple were seriously considering looking into studying as paramedics. This was a fantastic way to engage them.”

Ashley Tugby, Watch Manager of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We are really pleased to be offering our support to this careers day for young people. The scenario of a collision is sadly something the Fire Service have to attend regularly in ‘real life’ and we tend to work very closely with police officers and paramedics when we are carrying out rescues. We all have our roles to play.

“We are hoping that attending this careers day will not only send some messages to young people about safe driving but will also give them an insight into the kinds of challenges firefighters face in their day to day lives. Hopefully some of the students watching may be the firefighters of the future.”

*Changemaker is a University of Northampton-wide initiative which focuses on staff and students finding solutions to environmental or social problems to improve people’s lives, either at home or abroad.