Benenden School has announced it will be launching a new qualification teaching students some of the professional skills they will need in the modern workplace.
In what is thought to be the first of its kind in the country, the Professional Skills Qualification will teach girls skills such as pitching an idea, creating a business plan, debating, teamwork and reading financial accounts. It will also offer advice on how to behave during an interview or business meeting.
The school is seeking for the course – which will start in time for the next academic year in September 2016 – to be accredited by an external body at diploma level.
Headmistress Samantha Price said: “A string of great grades at GCSE and A level is not enough these days. I want girls at Benenden to be equipped for the modern workplace so that they stand out from the crowd when it comes to them applying for university places, jobs and apprenticeships.
“You frequently hear employers at some of the country’s biggest companies saying young people can lack some of the basic business skills they need in the modern workplace. We are hoping to put that right. Employers will know that a girl at Benenden with this qualification will be coming into their business ready to hit the ground running.
“The shortage of workplace-ready skills is a real problem and I hope other schools will follow our example and work to ensure students leave their schools with the necessary expertise.”
Mrs Price will be approaching some of the School’s former students, known as Seniors, asking if they would be willing to help offer their expertise and time for the Professional Skills Qualification. This could include giving talks, providing work experience places or helping to craft the content of the course by working with senior school leaders.
At this stage, Mrs Price intends to approach Seniors including former MI5 Director-General Baroness Manningham-Buller, high-profile lawyer Baroness Shackleton and Amber Atherton, who has established successful jewellery business My Flash Trash.
Mrs Price said: “We are fortunate to have a wonderful network of highly-successful Seniors whom I know will be keen to help the next generation of Benenden Seniors with their careers wherever possible.
“We will also be speaking with business leaders to ensure that our Professional Skills Qualification is set up to offer girls the practical skills that employers crave.”