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Rebecca Marsland of AB Vista and Fiona Kellow of Thrings with St Johns School students

Lawyer advises students on ways to get ahead in their careers

Students in Marlborough have been learning about what prospective employers look for from new recruits and how to get a head start in their future careers from one of Wiltshire’s leading legal experts.

Fiona Kellow, partner and head of private client at Thrings, joined more than 200 Year 10 pupils from St John’s International Academy last week for the launch of Global Portfolio, a work-related learning initiative designed to facilitate students’ transition from education to the world of work.

Now in its second year the Global Portfolio focusses students on the global context of their education and enables them to build up a portfolio of work-related and international experience over and above academic qualifications and hopefully gain a springboard into getting their first job.

Participation in work experience, work shadowing, mock interviews and attending careers talks from visiting speakers are just some of the opportunities available through the initiative which aims to help students manage their careers and sustain employability throughout their lives.

As well as sharing invaluable training and career advice, Fiona spoke about her own professional experiences, the increasingly competitive labour market and what it takes to succeed in the world of corporate and family law.

Fiona also discussed how many employers now look beyond candidates’ academic achievement when deciding who to interview, stressing the importance of extra-curricular interests, work experience, a well-presented CV and proof that a candidate has researched their organisation.

Fiona said: “The leap from education to work can be a daunting one, so it’s imperative that when they enter the world of employment, prospective employees know how to sell themselves so they rise above the competition.

“Every year, Thrings receives hundreds of applications from young people seeking what is a finite number of training positions. The labour market remains tough, and young people need to show ways in which they stand out.

“It is no longer just about academic excellence: employers now want strong, well-rounded candidates with excellent people skills, an ability to show initiative and possess a teamwork mentality.

“It is a great privilege to be invited to talk to the students by St John’s. The Global Portfolio is a great initiative which supports students make informed choices about their future and helps employers feel confident that a prospective employee has a holistic world view and can apply their skills and add value to their business.”

Fiona’s visit marks the latest chapter in the relationship between the St John’s and Thrings. In recent years, a number of pupils have participated in mock interviews with Thrings’ HR director, Sally Garton, while several have completed successful periods of work experience at the firm’s offices in Marlborough, Swindon, Bath and Bristol.

Students at St John’s also heard from Rebecca Marsland, marketing communications co-ordinator at international animal feed ingredients specialists, AB Vista.

Kerry Saunders, director of modern foreign languages at St John’s, said: “We are extremely grateful to Fiona and Rebecca for taking the time to visit the school and sharing their extensive practical experiences. Their advice helps put what our students have learned into context, and it will undoubtedly aid them in their future careers.

“The feedback from the students has been extremely positive and confirms just what a success this event has been. We look forward to welcoming Fiona and Rebecca back at St John’s in the near future.”