Marine engineer, police chief, or even an MP – you can be what you want with a bit of hard work.
That was the message to primary school children when they met a Government Minister as part of a day designed to raise their aspirations.
And to prove these jobs are really possible, volunteers who already enjoy high-flying careers were also at Moor Park Primary School in Bispham yesterday to talk about their achievements.
The event was the second held in Blackpool by the National Association of Head Teacher’s (NAHT) Primary Futures initiative.
And on hand to see how the scheme is working was Robert Halfon, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills.
He told the audience of seven to 11-year-olds his own chances had been written off when he was born with a condition which left him unable to walk.
Mr Halfon said: “I had to have determination and willpower to do what I wanted to do.
“No one would ever have thought at that time, including the doctors, that I would be standing before you today as an MP.”
He added: “Some of you want to be footballers, or to open a hotel in Africa, or to be an architect.
“These are all wonderful professions and as long as you work hard and get support in school, you will be able to do anything you want.”
The children quizzed the volunteers about their jobs in a session styled on the TV show ‘What’s My Line?’ where contestants have to decode what kind of work someone does.
Volunteers on the panel included an IT expert, a manager from Blackpool Transport, a marine engineer, a prison governor, the chief inspector of police in Blackpool, and the High Sheriff of Lancashire John Barnett.
Afterwards youngsters said the event had made them think about what they would like to do when they grow up, and the kind of jobs available to them. Abigail Veevers, seven, said: “I would like to be a teacher and even though I am only seven, it is good to be thinking about what you want to do.
“I know I will have to work hard at school though.”
The NAHT wants to ensure children understand the link between the world of work and the lessons they have in school in order that they can fulfil their potential.
Joanne Magson, head teacher at Moor Park Primary School, said; “It gives children a purpose so when they are in school learning maths and literacy, they know why they are learning it. I really think today has made a big impact on the children.
“A lot of our Blackpool families are people who are unemployed, so it is absolutely raising aspirations for the whole community.”
Mr Halfron told The Gazette it was essential to give young children something to aim towards.
He said: “What is going on here is groundbreaking and they are getting kids on the first rung of the ladder.
“This was not just a game, it was important because they are giving children ideas about what kind of career they would want and introducing them to leaders in their community.
“What they are doing is what we need to do across the country.”
Steve Iredale, of the NAHT, said it was hoped Blackpool would become the first town in the country so sign up all its primary schools to Primary Futures. St Nicholas’s School in Marton has already also hosted an event.
Mr Iredale said: “We already have nearly 500 volunteers from the world of work in Blackpool. They talk about their job and how important their learning was.”
“We are lifting their horizons for children and saying the world is your oyster.”