On January 10th a group of Year 9 students from Stationers’ Crown Woods, Longfield and Mascalls academies attended a workshop, delivered by Daniel Chow and Nabila Qureshi from Future First (www.futurefirst.org.uk) with the involvement of industry professionals from the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD).  The workshop was designed to inspire the next generation and equip them with the skills they need to succeed beyond school.


With the theme of ‘What are my skills and strengths? Can they get me a job?’, the session introduced students to the idea of ‘soft’ or ‘transferable’ skills, and helped them to reflect on what their own might be. The aim was to increase students’ confidence by helping them to identify their skills, strengths and talents. Acting in a coaching role, volunteers from IGD were there to support students in drawing out this understanding.

IGD delegates were: from Brakes (www.brakes.co.uk) Claire Barron, Scrum Master BI Programme; Nicola Mallett, Continuous Improvement Manager and Tom Gilman, Technical Manager – Constellation.  From GS1 (www.gs1uk.org) Steve Richards, Industry Engagement Manager, and from Aldi (www.aldi.co.uk) Alex Paul, Area Manager.

Industry Professionals

The workshop started with the industry professionals introducing themselves to the students.

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The students then participated in a carousel, where they got the opportunity to talk to several industry professionals and ask them questions.  The students were very inquisitive and asked participants many questions, including, about their role, their route into their current role, their company, their qualifications and skills, and even their salary!

“It was unique – how we got to talk to industry professionals and how it gave us an insight into what the world of work has to offer.”   Rebecca


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Workshop Activities

The students participated in a number of interactive activities, that were enjoyed by all.


The workshop was fast paced and full of interactive activities, such as a quiz about the Grocery industry.  It really got the students thinking and talking with each other, with questions such as:

a) How many jobs are there in the food and grocery industry?

b) Of all the money spent in UK shops, what percentage is spent in food and grocery shops?

c) On average, how many times a month do people go shopping for food and drink products?

(see bottom of page for answers!)  Surprised?


Following the quiz, the students then worked in groups to think of jobs that are involved in the food and grocery industry.  The longest list being in excess of 40.  It really challenged their thinking that food and grocery jobs were confined to supermarket roles, as had been their first thought.  They came up with jobs such as; scientists, IT, HR, marketing, delivery drivers, label printers, food tasters, store managers, buyers, to name just a few.

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What is important to you?

Students were asked to think about what would be important to them in their future job roles and ordered a set of cards from most important to least important.  It prompted a lot of discussion!

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Skills Bingo

After the ordering session, students were presented with a ‘Skills Bingo’ card and asked to move around the room trying to find someone who matched each statement.

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 Their own skills and strengths

Students thought about their own skills and strengths, broken down into categories:

Skills and strengths – what are you good at?

Values and attitudes – what is important to you?

Hobbies and interests – what do you enjoy?

Experiences – what interesting things have you done?

Future aspirations – where do you see yourself in the future?

                                                                                   “It helped me discover skills I possess that I never knew I had, and it was fun as well.”       Riley                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

1 Minute challenge

Armed with the knowledge they had collated about themselves, they spent just 1 minute telling their partner all about themselves.


Students were asked to reflect on:

What they had learned about the range of roles in the food and grocery industry and the skills needed to succeed.

How their confidence, communication and employability skills had developed by meeting the industry professionals.

Understand how their personal skills and subjects they study prepare them for the world of work.


The workshop ended with the industry professionals giving advice to the students.  This included …

“Be open to everything that comes your way.”

“It’s a big industry out there – stay focused, have a goal in mind and work towards it.”

“Have a plan – what else could I be doing to help me reach my goal?”

 “Take every opportunity that comes your way.  Try to push yourself to communicate confidently.”


The workshop was enjoyed by students, teachers and industry professionals.

Feedback from teachers included:

“The activities were well designed which made pupils engaged and happy.  It was great to see smiles!”

“Very interactive.  It enabled pupils to think about developing themselves for their future jobs.”

“Very informative.  Students didn’t realise how many potential different employment sectors the grocery and food industry has.  Students were engaged the whole time.”

Feedback from students included:

“I think it was a useful experience that I would definitely go to again.”

“Today made me think about careers and the future.”

 Feedback from industry professionals included:

“The students were well behaved, enthusiastic, inquisitive and very open minded.”

“It was really nice to spend time with the students and to see them taking advice on board.”

“The students were engaged and interested in what I had to share.”

“The students were really enthusiastic and mature.  They seemed to enjoy the session and the opportunity to start thinking about their future.”

Answers to Quiz questions:     a) 3.9 million          b) 49%          c) 26 times a month


Our sincere thanks go to Daniel and Nabila at Future First, for organising and hosting the workshop and to the industry professionals for their interaction with the students.