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of jobs and careers from the people actually doing them. “Back when I was a kid, we didn’t have anything like this,” he recalls. “Careers were not pushed as much as they are these days when I was at school: they didn’t listen to what you wanted to do, they told you what they thought you should do.” With the primary age children, Dave kept his intro short and sweet and invited the children to ask questions. “I didn’t want to do a long lecture because their attention would have wandered and anyway, they like to ask questions – they are very inquisitive at that age,” he says. As the school was keen to focus on maths, he also set them the kind of problem fire brigades have to know how to solve – how to measure the volume of water in a swimming pool if they need to draw water from a pool to tackle a blaze. “I explained how to work it out and said I’d give the first one who got the right answer a fire engine pencil sharpener – that got them to work

out the maths – and they are going to remember how to do it now!” he says. At Haringey Sixth Form Centre in Tottenham, Dave conducted a series of one-to-one interviews with students interested in the possibility of joining London Fire Brigade, one of several major employers that sent representatives to the school’s very first Top Careers Fair in September. Tottenham MP David Lammy was there to introduce the event, setting out how he climbed the career ladder from working in fast-food shops and department stores as a teenager to taking a law degree and becoming a politician. And he welcomed the contribution people like Dave make by speaking to young people about their experiences at work. “We’re living in a global world, but very strangely areas like Tottenham can feel very parochial, so people need to see role models up close, look beyond all the noise in their community and see the opportunities that are available – and that’s not just young people, that’s often also their parents,” he said. “I think it’s really important to have those figures that have made those opportunities tangible and real so young people are able to think, ‘I could do that, because I can relate to that story’.” Dave took on the role of union learning rep in what are turning out to be the last few years of his career with the Fire Brigade. Personally committed to adult education (he completed a politics and society degree at Birkbeck in 2005), Dave is also passionate about inspiring people to live the lives they want through his own website and his self-published book, Fire Fighting From Within – How To Master The Tools Of Life Even During Tough Times (available as an e-book from Amazon). 

INSPIRING WOMEN Calling all female reps! The Education and Employers Taskforce, which runs Inspiring The Future, is looking for women to join its new schools initiative, Inspiring Women, which launched this autumn. The campaign aims to recruit 15,000 women from a wide range of occupations who can go into state schools to talk to 250,000 young women about the range of jobs available and entry routes into them. The initiative hopes to make a dent in the persistent figures that show 75 per cent of women still work in the ‘five Cs’ of employment: cleaning, catering, caring, cashiering and clerical. “We set up Inspiring Women to connect women from all career backgrounds with girls from state schools, because research shows that girls respond best hearing from other women,” explains Education and Employers Taskforce Communications Manager Carol Glover. “Whether an 18-year-old apprentice or a household name CEO, women in all sorts of employment can inspire girls to widen their horizons and look beyond stereotypically female jobs and careers.”

• Click here to register to visit a school near where you live or work. Please note that DBS (formerly known as Criminal Records Bureau checks) are not needed for ‘career insight’ or ‘enterprise’ talks


Learning Rep - Winter 2014  
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