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Using "Career Pong" as a youth engagement tool in schools

11 Mar 2024

On Thursday 7th March Ross and Kym from our SEND Project, Altogether Now, attended Rawlins Academy Careers Fair.

As part of National Careers Week all 1570 pupils had the opportunity to engage with a number of stalls, ranging from universities to engineering and trade representatives.

So – in a very busy sports hall with upwards of 30 stalls and hundreds of excitable students, how did we manage to engage young people into the work of Leicestershire Cares?

Firstly - lets start with the basics - roadshow materials - we are being a lot more mindful of merchandise in terms of its environmental impact, although our trolley coins remain massively popular and useful and therefore we didnt have the usual "goodies" such as pens and stressballs.

Secondly , let’s face it – young people don’t like neither leaflet or long conversations with professionals – and in light of those challenges we needed to get creative.

Enter “career pong” – derived from the college campuses of the USA – this activity involves little more than 20 cups, a few ping pong balls , a shed load of sweets and some interview style questions.

Invite a couple of inquisitive and somewhat competitive students and the crowds begin to gather.

So – how did a simple, slightly unruly activity enhance the careers day experience for Rawlins students?

Having a go: all students will have to learn to try new things, even if a little daunting , when they enter the world of work.

Perseverance and resilience: It took our students a while to get a ball into a cup – but we kept going until they did, and the sense of achievement was so worth it.

Healthy competition: Its absolutely fine to be competitive but in a good-natured way – and to be respectful and supportive of your competitor is a wonderful career-based skill.

Team support: having the support of your peers and being a supportive peer helps contribute to a healthy working culture and is one of the most important and fundamental work skills when applying for jobs.

Interview questions: When a ball landed in the cup the student was asked a common interview question or had to ask us a question – as the Rawlins students were working towards their mock interviews.

Sweet Rewards: Not great for the teeth – but a small reward (and a cheeky trolley token here and there) – something earned for “having a go”.

Inclusive: the game transcends any language barriers, physical and learning disabilities and could be accessed by all and on the day we engaged with the skills for learning (SEND) unit including a student who was hearing and sight impaired.

Out of the total number of students who likely attended the whole event we engaged with around 1 in 5 students – around 300 – which is a great reach. Some of out fellow stallholders

Rawlins believes that allowing young people contact with employers, HE and FE educators gives economic and social benefits for students, which supports them to make effective transitions from secondary school to further education, training or employment. Career education and guidance play an important role in supporting students' interests, strengths, aspirations and achievements.

Rawlins Academy - Careers Day News Article

If you would like our team to engage with a careers events or for more information contact Amy Cook , Head of Children and Young people