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Students discover the world of publishing at Penguin Random House

Newham Sixth Form College office visit

Words for Work: Key Stage 4 and Post-16 gives students the opportunity to meet business volunteers and understand the practical application of literacy within the work place.

Penguin Random House office visit

Last academic year we were finally able to run our full programme in-person after taking our programmes digital during the pandemic. As part of the programme, we took two groups of students from Newham Sixth Form College and Lilian Baylis Technology School to visit the Penguin Random House office in Embassy Gardens, London.

We planned the office visits to include an office tour, a communication activity and a Q&A with business volunteers. On arrival to the office, students were welcomed by ourselves and business volunteers from Penguin and received a welcome talk from volunteers to introduced the company and their roles.

Next, the students embarked on their office tour. On each floor of the tour, students were not only told about the various departments by the employees who had volunteered for the visit, but they were also greeted on each floor by employees from each department, who took time out of their day to talk to the students about their role and area of business.

Lilian Baylis Technology School students at the Penguin Random House office

During the tour, students were tasked with observing communication types around the office and to use their work sheets to record this. Once they had finished the office tour, the business volunteers supported the students to discuss the types of communication they had observed and how this may differ from school.

It was then time for the students to take part in a Q&A with the volunteers, where the students asked questions about their career journeys, their roles, working in publishing, confidence, communication and literacy at work.

The office visit was a tremendous success with students, teachers and volunteers all enjoying each aspect of the day.

Developing professional skills in the classroom

Following on from this, the students took part in their teacher-led sessions in school and focussed their time on formal email writing, CV writing, cover letter writing, elevator pitches and interview skills. We provided all resources to the teachers to run the sessions and both schools gave positive feedback on the teacher led sessions and resources provided.

Newham Sixth Form student in mock interview

The schools then chose one skill to focus on for the final session, where Penguin Random House volunteers joined students in their classrooms. The volunteers provided feedback on a piece of work the students had worked on across the programme. One school chose to present their elevator pitches and the other chose to do mock interviews to practice their interview skills.

Both sessions went extremely well, with all students participating, even those who had previously been shyer and more reserved. The volunteers provided insightful feedback based on their own employment experience, which was invaluable to the students.

“A number of students in our class overcame SEN-related barriers and successfully demonstrated presentational skills in front of their peers and the professional volunteers. I couldn't have been prouder of them, and the way the Words for Word modules are sequenced and planned made this possible.”

Teacher from the Words for Work Programme
Find out more about Words for Work: Key Stage 4 and Post-16
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