HUNDREDS of city schoolchildren have been given a unique insight into the world of work.
Work Discovery Week 2014 kicked off at the Stadium of Light, with an invited audience of around 1,000 pupils from schools across the city.
They were invited to judge a ‘What not to wear to your job interview’ fashion show before splitting into groups to learn more about career opportunities with dozens of Wearside businesses.
Organisers hope this year’s event will build on the success of the inaugural Work Discovery Week held last year.
Austin McNamara is Sunderland City Council’s recently-appointed associate director of education and was delighted to be taking part in his first Work Discovery Week after hearing good things about last year’s.
“I am very impressed,” he said.
“Before I came to Sunderland to take this job, one of the things I had heard about was the Work Discovery Week that took place last year,” he said.
Austin has a background in careers and believes improving links between schools and business is critical for the future.
He said: “I used to be chief executive of a Connexions service, so I am very passionate about giving young people the opportunity of find out what is available for them out there and given them the information they need so they can make informed decisions.”
Work Discovery Week is supported by Sunderland City Council, SAFC and the North East Chamber of Commerce. Headline sponsors include Nissan, catering giants Bidvest 3663, Arriva, Gentoo, University of Sunderland and Sunderland College with additional support from The Bridges, Accenture, Liebherr Works Sunderland, Calsonic Kansei, Northumbrian Water, TRW and Grundfos.
The week is an initiative from Sunderland’s Economic Leadership Board – Business:Schools Task Group who recognised the need to forge stronger links between companies across the region and school pupils in Sunderland.
SAFC commercial director Gary Hutchinson, co-chairman of the task group, said: “It’s very exciting to see that Work Discovery Week-Sunderland has even more schools and businesses on board this year than last year and there are so many excellent opportunities for schools and businesses to forge strong relationship. Companies from across the region have given so much support to this event and it’s gratifying to watch it go from strength to strength.”