The Careers Department at the European School Karlsruhe carries out a wide variety of work during the year. The department consists of three members: Markus Sperl in the German Section, Philip Carré in the French Section and Anthony Boothroyd in the English Section. We deliver the Programme for Careers Guidance which is common to all European Schools. This allows 16 hours of contact time in the 5th year and 8 hours in both the 6th and 7th years. In addition to this we also advise students and their families in all years, sometimes putting them in contact with teachers or other people who can give information about other countries, and we help in the 7th year with applications and preparation for university entrance. For much of this work we rely on the assistance and cooperation of our colleagues at the school and we are extremely grateful for this invaluable help.
Below is a summary of the various activites and events which take place in a typical year. Although this is written from the perspective of the English Section, a number of the activities are also attended by students from the other sections if they are considering applying to UK universities in the future, and other activities and events take place in the other sections. The specific activities vary slightly from year to year but this gives an idea of what is to be expected.
The school year starts with a visit in late September from the UK Careers Advisor, Karen Penfound, who works for the company which has the contract to provide careers advice to all UK students in the European Schools. Karen is both highly experienced and knowledgeable in the European School system and gives both group sessions and individual interviews for students in the 5th year and the 7th year. The individual interviews are followed up by a written report which includes advice on future action.
Three careers sessions are run for the 5th year throughout the autumn and winter by the careers advisors for each of the language sections. These cover amongst other topics; decision-making skills, awareness of subject requirements for future study and careers, option choices for the 6th and 7th years. Parents of 5th year students are also invited to attend an information evening to help with option choices for the 6th and 7th years, including how to find the requirements for different study courses at university to assist with their decision-making for Baccalaureate. Advice is available for all of the countries represented by sections in the school.
All German-speaking students in the 5th year, which includes nearly all English Section students, have the opportunity to visit the local careers advisory service (BIZ) in Karlsruhe, which provides excellent advice and guidance for those considering higher education and subsequent employment in Germany.
Following the deadline for the option choices for the 6th & 7th year the careers department then works closely with the timetablers and the students to resolve any issues arising from problems caused by the restrictions of the timetable and the unavailability of particular courses.
6th year students interested in applying to the UK for university study visit the British Council University Fair which comes to Frankfurt every year in early October. A large number of British universities are represented and students have the opportunity to gather information about the universities themselves and also about possible course choices. Likewise, those interested in the possibility of studying in the Netherlands have the chance, during some years, to attend the Open Day at the University of Utrecht in October. This is a very big annual event at a prestigious university including the possibility of studying in both Dutch and English.
The UK Careers Advisor, Karen Penfound, returns in March to see the 6th year, presenting group sessions to 6E and 4E on careers related issues and giving individual consultations to British students. She also makes time to briefly see any 7th year students who have specific questions relating to their UK university applications.
In April or June, depending on the school calendar in any particular year, students in the 6th year who are interested in applying for higher education in the UK travel there to visit a variety of universities. In recent years universities we have visited include Warwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Kent, and a number of institutions in London. The group is welcomed warmly at all universities and the trip is extremely helpful, informative and enjoyable for all who take part, including the teachers. We are usually given a presentation about the university specifically and applying to the UK in general, followed by a campus tour. Those students not familiar with life in the UK also get a brief insight into British culture and the life of a student.
In June those students interested in applying to UK universities are given an introductory session on how to use the centralised online application system and what preparation and research to do over the summer.
Links with the Institute for Toxicology and Genetics at the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe continue to be strengthened. Potential science, medicine and biochemistry students are invited to attend regular sessions at the institute and participate in projects. They are thus able to gain invaluable experience to help with their choice of university courses and make them more attractive candidates for the higher ranked universities where competition for places is extremely high. The cooperation between the ESK and the ITG continues to strengthen and we are extremely pleased and grateful that this opportunity is available for our science students.Advice and assistance is given throughout the year to 6th and 7th year students about university education in various countries and help is provided with the application processes which vary widely from land to land and can be lengthy and complex. Those students who require it in the 7th year are guided through the application process for the UK. This requires a lot of work from both students and staff. The applications are completed by the students at the latest by early December however we continue to help students with their applications until after the Baccalaureate in some cases. Thanks are expressed to all teachers who give their time to assist with this process, especially those who act as referees in support of students' applications.
English Section Careers Advisor,
European School Karlsruhe.