"The main reason for this event is to raise aspirations. To give little taster sessions of things that the children may not have done previously and to give them an idea of what University has to offer."
Samantha Nuttall, Development Officer, Staffordshire University
School pupils got a taste what their future careers could be during a day of interactive workshops hosted by Staffordshire University in partnership with Port Vale Football Club.
60 Year 8 pupils from Haywood Academy tried their hand at investigating a mock crime scene and learned how to programme robots in workshops run by the University’s Science and Engineering experts during the Gifted and Talented day held at Port Vale’s stadium.
Businesses KMF Metals Ltd and Staffordshire Creamware also hosted sessions showcasing their respective industries, which included making flying propellers and learning about pottery.
Samantha Nuttall, from the University’s Development Office, helped organise the day: "The main reason for this event is to raise aspirations. To give little taster sessions of things that the children may not have done previously and to give them an idea of what University has to offer - it’s not just the standard subjects that you study in school.”
Pupil Jasmine Cottrell commented: “It’s really inspirational because you can find out about all the different things you can do. I liked the Forensic Science session because it was really fun to solve the mystery.”
The pupils got a surprise visit during the day from Port Vale right-back Adam Yates, who studied Professional Sports Writing and Broadcasting at the University alongside his day job.
"I gained a degree that I think will give me some sort of direction post-football whether that’s in education, media or newspapers.” He explained.
“It’s certainly and eye-opener for the children to realise that there are so many different jobs out there and that one degree doesn’t mean that you have to go into that one area.”
Adam got stuck in with the workshops and the children had chance to ask the player for advice. 13-year-old Megan Hunt is a footballer herself and has been selected for the England under-15s girls team.
“Adam told me to keep my head down and keep focussed.” said Megan.
“I’d also like to take something like Media Studies so that if I make it in football I can do commentaries and maybe work for Sky Sports after my football career.”
This is the third year that the University and football club have run the event but the first time that year 8 pupils have taken part. Port Vale’s Head of Education Chris Taylor said: “Port Vale and Staffordshire University will continue to work together using projects like this to provide innovative and exciting activities for the young people of Stoke-on-Trent giving them opportunities to learn about the benefits of higher education.”
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