My Cutlers’ Ambassadors Journey by Alexandra Tair

My name is Alexandra Tair, I am 15 years old and attend Outwood Academy City. I have been taking part in the Cutlers’ Ambassador Programme, engineering strand delivered by The work-wise Foundation, for 2 years and I got involved because of my school.

My experience of the Cutlers’ Ambassador Programme so far has been an exciting one. Throughout the programme, I have done many activities, workshops and trips to engineering and manufacturing  companies. Over the last 2 years I have developed different employability skills such as, confidence, communication, teamwork and many more that would make me stand out when applying for a job.

I became an Ambassador at the end of Year 8 and have continued to participate with the Programme throughout years 9 and 10, with pathway sessions and Cutlers’ Ambassador graduation in Year 11. The bulk of activity ahead of Year 11 means I can maintain focus on my GCSE’s and BTEC’s and also develop knowledge and skills that will help me in years to come when applying for a job.

I believe one of the biggest parts of the programme is visiting different engineering and manufacturing companies, I learnt about all the possible jobs and opportunities for the future. One of the most recent trips I went on was to Jenx and I learnt so much about a company that I didn’t even know existed, I learnt about important things that make Jenx who they are today. Being able to witness their machinery and being able to know the steps it takes to make the support for the children is absolutely amazing. When going on these trips, I come out of my comfort zone because I meet new people and interact with them and I go to different places that I have never been to before. Meeting new people boosted my confidence so much, at the beginning of the programme I was very shy and all the trips and workshops we have done has brought me out of my shell and I am very grateful for that. Another business I went and visited was Metalysis and it was a very exciting trip. I got to find out about their testing and other important things such as the qualifications you needed for a specific job. Tinsley Bridge was another business I visited and my school were involved in the Enterprise Challenge with Tinsley Bridge.

Three more trips we went on were to the Lifewise Centre, to Magna and the Made in Sheffield exhibition. One of the main places we meet with the other Cutlers’ Ambassadors is Magna and we had the chance to see The Big Melt, it was very fascinating to find out something that I didn’t know was a thing. One trip we went on was to the Lifewise Centre where we learnt about online safety and many other safety issues that people don’t understand or have never been told about before. Another trip we went on was to see the Made in Sheffield exhibition. There we got to learn about the history of Sheffield cutlery industry and that fascinated me. This trip made me realise how big the engineering and manufacturing industry is.

Another big part of the programme is Get up to Speed with STEM and being able to attend it 2 years in a row and participate in creating an even better environment and an all-round amazing event. This was an amazing opportunity to discover new career paths. Being able to participate in the planning of Get up to Speed was very exciting and it made me develop my teamwork skills and communication skills when I needed to help others find their way. For the first year of going to Get up to Speed we did an Innovation Challenge where my school worked with Numil to create a simple and effective storage solution for the company. We worked on the pitch for over a month and it made me develop all of the most needed skills to be able to create a pitch then speak about it with highly influential companies in the industry. The skills I developed even further were confidence, communication, teamwork, organisation and many more that are key employability skills.

One of the most challenging parts of the programme so far was the interviews for our work experience placement. We were told about the interviews a few weeks before the actual interview so we had time to think of things such as our strengths, our weaknesses and things we wanted to do when we left school. This part of the programme was challenging because I had never done an interview before and it was absolutely terrifying but after getting through the interview I was able to leave the room with skills I needed for future interviews. The interview felt like it went really well and I was happy with the outcome that it had.

Another part of my work experience was the induction the week before the beginning of my work experience. It helped us understand the health and safety issues of working in an engineering and manufacturing environment. Whilst in the induction, we mainly focussed on the health and safety but we also did an activity with a partner, I worked with one of my classmates that I didn’t really know. The point of the activity was to get to know the other person a bit better and then speak about them in front of the rest of the students with us.

The whole experience so far has been exciting. I have learnt about different job and pathways to go to get into these sectors and it has opened my eyes to the different possibilities in engineering and manufacturing. I can’t wait to see what is in store for the next year on the programme.

By Alexandra Tair, 15, Outwood Academy City

“Over the last six months I have supported our Cutlers’ Ambassadors. This is from taking them on visits to engineering firms or to the Get up to Speed event at Magna Science Park. Over that time, I have seen the students learn new skills and develop their confidence. I feel the The work-wise Foundation programme is a fantastic opportunity for our students to complete and become more prepared for future employment.”

Tristan King, Adminstrative Officer for HeppSY, Outwood Academy City/Newbold

Inspiring skills and employability

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