Primary school pupils introduced to world of work

Fajr Sarwar, Sorina Kaimasidi, Matthew MacDonald and Ayaan Abbasi are shown the hybrid engine of a Toyota Prius by Scott Murray at the Western Toyota Garage on Dalkeith Road. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Fajr Sarwar, Sorina Kaimasidi, Matthew MacDonald and Ayaan Abbasi are shown the hybrid engine of a Toyota Prius by Scott Murray at the Western Toyota Garage on Dalkeith Road. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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Growing up to be a star footballer, pop singer or star-trekking astronaut are among the natural hopes and dreams of pint-sized pupils.

But one city school is introducing inquiring minds to the real world of work – by launching Scotland’s youngest ever careers fair.

Delegates from car manufacturer Toyota, retail giant Sainsbury’s and even Edinburgh City Council will host stalls at the employment jamboree organised by Prestonfield Primary School. Around 200 pupils – aged five to 11 – will discuss their future careers with representatives from the 25 firms taking part.

The jobs fair is part of the school’s five-day World at Work Week, which even encourages nursery-aged children to learn about future prospects following a visit from Argos and the lollipop lady. The pioneering project, spearheaded by the school’s PTA, allows pupils the chance to broaden their horizons and have fun, say parents and teachers at Prestonfield.

It comes in the wake of the Wood Report at Westminister which recommends introducing career advice to children much earlier than secondary school.

Prestonfield headteacher Fiona Murray said the philosophy behind the job fair was to prepare children for a “really good future”.

She said: “It’s about getting the children to realise that there are so many opportunities out there and there will be something that really fits their own interests and talents.

“The sooner they are introduced to that the better. It really is a superb range of jobs that are being represented – there’s something there for everyone.”

Louise McSorley, chair of the PTA, said the fair aimed to help pupils “widen their horizons and make them excited about the future”.

“I can’t think of any other primary school that has done this before and we’ve been absolutely bowled over because we have had so many people who are all willing to come,” she said.

Ronnie Davidson, of the Careers Development Institute for Scotland, said the scheme was forward-thinking.

“There’s plenty of research indicating that children are beginning to pick up stereotypes, ideas and aspirations from the age of three – so it’s great that companies and organisations are beginning to think about educating kids for the future,” he said.

“The sooner a young person can begin to connect what they are learning in school with the real world of work, the better. It’s terrific for the kids. This sounds great – and I think any careers adviser would tell you that.”

alistair.grant@edinburghnews.com