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Careers Programme

The Careers Team at Harrow, working closely with the Universities Team, provides guidance on subject choices, career options and work experience, so that boys are well equipped when they enter the world of work.

Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions that our boys will ever make. It is therefore vital that they are well informed and able to make decisions that are suited to them individually. The Careers Department at Harrow aims to offer each boy bespoke guidance to help him plan his future, with advice tailored to his particular interests, abilities and ambitions.

Our approach is governed by three interconnected core principles. First, we wish to promote the idea of happiness; we want the boys to pursue careers that are suited to their interests and aptitudes and which they will find rewarding, so each boy is encouraged to think about what he would most like to do. Second, we aim to ensure the boys make the best choices and understand the need to be flexible, especially around subject choices for A-level and degree-level courses, but also with an eye to their later career development. The world of work is changing rapidly, and we try to make our boys aware that many of the careers they will encounter in the future have not yet been developed. We also try to help them appreciate that they may end up working in more than one area as their careers evolve. Third, we are striving to raise boys’ awareness of their employability or ‘soft’ skills. Much of our effort is directed at encouraging boys to reflect – beyond their academic subjects and grades – on these soft skills. In recent years, soft skills have become even more important for succeeding in the workplace. The Institute of Directors reports that ‘According to a survey of 500 directors, when recruiting, 76% said employability skills were more important to their firm than the specific occupational, technical or academic skills’. We stress that these are not inherent and can be learnt, and most of these skills tie in with Harrow’s four core values. We encourage the boys to think of the opportunities that community living on the Hill offers them in developing their interpersonal skills. These three principles are integral to all that we do across the Careers Department.

Research into careers and preparation start in the Shell year. All boys are recommended to use New Kudos, an online careers advice and information resource, and to attend our programme of careers lectures and Business Lunches. Speakers have included head-hunters, lawyers, medical consultants, MPs, members of the civil service, investment bankers, members of Special Forces, experts in graduate recruitment, advertising executives, surgeons, engineers and environmentalists. These talks raise boys’ awareness of the world of work and the typical qualities that employers and recruiting organisations look for in specific careers. Within PSHE lessons, boys encounter further careers materials centred on increasing their awareness of their strengths and weaknesses related to specific careers areas in which they are interested.

We also hold an annual Careers Convention at which over 70 experts offer advice. These individuals hail from traditional industries such as accountancy and law as well as more modern sectors including visual effects and web design, and there has recently been greater focus on green careers.

Fifth Formers benefit from our association with My Future Choice, which provides online psychometric testing and careers surveys so the boys can get a greater sense of how their skills and interests marry up with specific careers. As they consider their A-level and degree choices, the boys are advised and helped to keep their options open so that they develop adaptability. Our focus on encouraging the boys to reflect on their employability skills also prepares them for future success in the ever-changing world of work.

Boys in the Fifth and Sixth Forms are encouraged to carry out annual work experience, which helps them narrow down their job search, as well as making a vital contribution to their university personal statements. From among our thriving old boy network, many offer placements and mentoring to current boys and recent leavers. Our alumni organisation, the Harrow Association (HA), facilitates introductions between current and former Harrovians, and plays a key role in our careers’ advice. Once a boy leaves Harrow, he is encouraged to continue to access careers support through the HA. From an annual careers guidance seminar for undergraduates through to personal introductions, networking evenings and more than 20 clubs for professions including law, medicine, finance, property, entrepreneurship and investing, careers support extends far beyond a boy's time at Harrow.