Knowledge Quarter Hosts Innovative Primary Careers Conference

“Be curious “children told in inspirational day filled with talks and workshops. From 3D-printing with the Crafts Council to fighting the robot uprising with the Guardian’s Ken Lim.

Over 200 children aged 9 to 10 attended were told to “be curious” at an innovative Primary Careers Conference organised by the Knowledge Quarter in partnership with Netley Primary School. The conference, held at the British Library, saw children from over 24 schools within the boroughs of Camden and Islington hear from high-profile speakers and attend a series of interactive workshops from local businesses and organisations.

Opening the conference Roly Keating, Chair of the Knowledge Quarter and Chief Executive of the British Library told pupils that “knowledge never stops. New knowledge is being built and created every day” and encouraged children to “[find out] what’s on your doorstep if you just open the door.”

Keir Starmer, Member of Parliament for Holborn and St Pancras “highlighted the range of organisations nearby including the British Library, the Francis Crick Institute and University College Hospital and told the audience “I don’t want you to think there’s something you can’t do.”

Children were inspired to think about new potential careers through talks from Richard Jacques, a composer for video games and Ken Lim, Digital Development Manager for the Guardian. “I think I have the coolest job in the world” Richard Jacques said leaving children speechless as he showed a clip from the latest SEGA videogame. “I make music for video games. I absolutely love my job.”

Meanwhile, Ken Lim wanted to turn all attendees into “technology creatives” and explained preparing for a possible robot uprising was one of the many reasons why it was important to learn how to use technology. “You can be tech creative without learning how to program… find something you love and try to recreate it.”

There was certainly no shortage of excitement to be had as the children attended sessions by London Metropolitan Archives, The Guardian, House of Illustration, Crafts Council, and the Royal Vetinary College. An auditorium was transformed into a crime scene by the Francis Crick Institute with the aim of introducing children to the concepts of microscopy, the technical field of using microscopes, which is key in the research the Crick undertakes. Children became forensic detectives, complete with lab coats, gloves and googles, to get to the bottom of several crimes; reading notes that could only be seen under UV light and microscopes.

Some attendees were inspired to consider new careers. Anri from Pakeman Primary School in Islington said some of the messages he was going to take away was to “always try your best, never give up and always have faith.” After attending a workshop with Scriberia, a local company that focuses on graphic facilitation, Anri had new thoughts about becoming an artist.

Others found new encouragement. Taseen from Carlton Primary School learned “to not give up on things.” As a result of today’s conference, Taseen had rekindled her dreams of becoming a pilot.

Rose O’Brian, Year 3 Teacher from Torriano Primary School in Camden was full of praise for the conference’s model. “The [Children] have been really inspired by today… most kids grow up only knowing the jobs their parents had, it’s really important for them to know about other jobs.”

Pupils who attended have been asked to take the ideas from the conference to organise their own careers day or week in their schools. Rose explained that attendees from Torriano Primary School will organise a careers week in October. “It’s really important to bring local businesses and the local community into schools.”

More information:   Daniel Stevens, Knowledge Quarter, 07578 677434

Notes to Editors:    

  • There are 11,300 children and young people living in poverty in Camden and that the average property price is £855,000. With property prices increasing there is a concern that many of the children and young people growing up in Camden may not be able to live in their borough as adults.
  • Young people from vulnerable groups are at risk of becoming NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) between the ages of 16-25.
  • The primary careers conference format has been proven to increase confidence in participants with children responding they felt they had a better understanding of the different jobs available and the skills required for them. (Last year’s conference saw an increase from 29.9% to 54.5% in those saying they “Strongly Agree” that they “I know about different types of jobs that are available to me” and an increase from 38.8% to 57.1% in those saying they “Strongly Agree” that they “know what skills I need to get the job I want.”)

About the Conference

Other high-profile organisations at the conference included the British Library, Scriberia, the Royal Veterinary College, The Guardian, Wellcome Trust, Crafts Council, London Metropolitan Archives, and the Institute of Research

The main aims of the conference are to:

  • Inspire primary school children to think about their future careers.
  • Raise young people’s aspirations and help them to learn about job skills.
  • Strengthen links between schools and business to maximise opportunities for future collaboration.
  • Develop pupils’ knowledge and skills around particular careers.

About the Knowledge Quarter

The Knowledge Quarter is a partnership of 66 academic, cultural, research, scientific and media organisations within a one-mile radius comprising of King’s Cross, Bloomsbury and Euston, who all have within their purpose the creation and dissemination of knowledge. Since its launch in December 2014, it has welcome a further 31 organisations as partners including the Alan Turing Institute, the Arts Catalyst and the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining. The Knowledge Quarter fosters knowledge exchange and collaboration between staff and users of cross-disciplinary communities to exchange ideas, expertise and evidence.

The Knowledge Quarter partners collectively represent:

  • 7 higher education institutions
  • 17 cultural institutions
  • 21 museums and galleries
  • 29 libraries and archives
  • 66 partner organisations
  • 500 research groups, centres and institutes
  • 3,000 scientists
  • 12,000 academics
  • 50,000 staff
  • 77,000 students
  • 10,000,0000 annual visitors
  • 180,000,000 catalogued items