Some of the biggest names in business, arts and culture visited schools in Cardiff in June to speak to children about the career opportunities the city has to offer.
Now in its third year, Open Your Eyes is designed to raise career aspirations and this year already, 38 businesses and organisations from Cardiff and the wider city region have visited 16 schools in the cluster areas for Cardiff West Community High School and Fitzalan High School with further plans for the Corpus Christi High School cluster in November 2018.
Using links created through the Cardiff Commitment, this year’s Open Your Eyes will see more businesses and organisations visiting more schools and speaking to more children and young people than ever before.
Deputy Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry, said: “Open Your Eyes plays an important role in helping children and young people maintain their enthusiasm for learning, ensuring that they go on to employment, further education or training after they leave school and make the most of Cardiff’s modern, vibrant and dynamic economy.
By opening their eyes to a world of opportunity, we can help children and young people start to look ahead, and consider careers they might not otherwise have thought about. In raising aspirations for what they want to do when they grow up, we can encourage them to achieve in education – motivated to succeed and turning those aspirations into a reality.
It is great to see Open Your Eyes being offered to so many children and young people, and that even more businesses and organisations have come on board to talk about the excellent career opportunities that Cardiff and the wider city region has to offer.”
Millbank primary in Caerau is one of the schools involved in Open Your Eyes this year, and welcomed Science Rapper Jon Chaser from University of South Wales.
Explaining why it is important for them to take part, Headteacher, Mrs Karen Brown, said: “I am very passionate about the children having the best life-chances possible, and love that businesses and organisations are committed to showing them the many opportunities that are within their reach. I am thrilled that this is something we can work on as a whole cluster, including our new local high school, Cardiff West Community High School.
“I hope the pupils understand the wide range of pathways and opportunities open to them as they grow up in Cardiff, and get inspiration from the speakers with regards the skills they are already learning, and how these will help them in that or any other career. I am looking forward to employers sharing their journeys in their careers – explaining to the children the need for study, hard work, resilience, determination and dreams!”
The 38 businesses and organisations taking part in Open Your Eyes this year so far are: Admiral Law; BBC Wales; Better Cardiff; Blake Morgan Law; Cadwyn Housing Association; Cardiff Blues; Cardiff Third Sector Council; Cardiff University; Celsa Steel; Digital Profile; FOR Cardiff; Hilton Cardiff; HMRC; ISG Construction; ITV Wales; Kier Construction; Lovells; Mandy St John Property Developer; Microsoft; Millennium FX; Morgan Sindall; National Theatre Wales; Network Rail; Orchard Media; Park Plaza Hotel; Powell Dobson; PricewaterhouseCoopers; Radisson Blu Cardiff; RAF; Santander; Selco; South Wales Police; Specsavers; University of South Wales; Wales Air Ambulance Charitable Trust; Wales Millennium Centre; Welsh National Opera; WRU.
Alice Knapman, Hilton Hotels Human Resources Manager, said: “I am passionate about inspiring young people to join the Hospitality Industry and achieve a great career. In Hospitality you meet new people each and every day, create great friendships and can travel and see the world.
“I started with Hilton through a two week work experience placement during my College studies. I have worked in 10 different Hilton Hotels and in 8 years have progressed to be a HR Manager of 3 Hilton Hotels.”