On 8th December, twelve Engineering, Science and IT Career Ready students and two tutors took a trip to London for a Capital Experience. They met at Dungannon Campus car park at 4.30 am, surprisingly bright eyed and chatty but knew it was going to be a long day as they planned to return 10 pm that night. They got the flight to Gatwick and boarded the Gatwick Express to London Victoria Station. Here, they found out there was a tube strike and got to experience not only morning rush hour but ‘the worst queue they’d ever seen’ as one Londoner described it to their boss to inform them they would be late for work. With patience, the staff and students waited until they were able to jump on a tube and make their way to Tottenham Court Road Station. From here, the Dominion Theatre was across the road where they settled ready to be motivated and inspired by Action Jackson!
Action Jackson was the guest speaker for over 1200 students from across England, Scotland and Wales. He had the students dancing and shaking, he brought friends on stage to share their stories and past Career Ready students, to share their experiences also. The main aims of the workshop was to make the students aware of themselves, their strengths and areas for improvements, how they communicate with others, the importance of networking and to make them really consider their future careers.
After the workshop the staff and students made their way to Laing O’Rourke, one of the construction companies involved in the billion pound project to build a Crossrail network across and under the city of London. Wearing high visibility jackets and hard hats the students were taken down in a cage hoist for a tour of the building work so far and were able to walk through the newly dug tunnels of London’s future Elizabeth line. They were able to find out about the planning decisions, the materials being used, the problems being encountered and what is being done to solve them and the communication needed between the thousands of people involved in the project.
Joel Cuddy, SWC student on the Career Programme said, “We attended the event in London which was a great opportunity that I thoroughly enjoyed. We attended a motivational seminar. There were a variety of speakers, a lot of whom were previous enrolled in the Career Ready program. It was great to hear about what the program did for them. Later we went to a construction company called Lang O'Rourke which made over £3.8billion in profits last year. We got a tour of their newest project (building extension to the London tube) and then attended a seminar about the various opportunities for I.T jobs in the organisation. I found the trip thoroughly enjoyable and I’m glad I took the opportunity to go to London.”
Finally, the staff and students were able to appreciate their Capital Experience with a walk through the centre of London seeing the sights and Christmas lights of Oxford Street, Chinatown, Piccadilly Circus, Waterloo Place and Buckingham Palace with views of the London Eye and Big Ben. Now, all they had to do was make their way home with tired eyes and sore feet!