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The next Leonardo da Vinci

young-plant-growing-in-the-morning-000089286857_xxxlargeoptFormer IB Career-related Programme (CP) students share how the programme has given them the skills to change the world for the better

Did you know that many of the most famous Renaissance artists, such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Titian, started working life as young painter’s apprentices? These are great early examples of how work experience can kick-start a career.

Career-related studies equip students with the skills necessary to thrive in their chosen career. The IB Career-related Programme (CP) also offers an internationally recognized education. Students gain experience and lifelong, transferable skills.

IB World magazine speaks to CP graduates who, like the Renaissance masters, plan to make a real difference in the world…

It was nice to get a fresh perspective and discover that I have new skills


Conor Boardman

Conor Boardman fulfilled his lifelong dream of studying palaeontology when he began his student life at the University of Bristol in the UK in September. He has been passionate about the subject and determined to study it since he was two years old. “It always felt right; I knew that it was what I was meant to do,” he says.

CP graduate Conor graduated from King Ethelbert School, UK, in 2016, where he studied the Pearson BTEC Level 3 diploma in business as his career-related subject, alongside IB Diploma Programme (DP) biology course the social and cultural anthropology course. He said the CP core, in particular the reflective project, helped him understand the world in greater detail.

I thoroughly enjoyed the reflective project, where I chose to explore the traditional practice of whaling and whether it is morally right for it to continue. I became better at collecting and assessing research materials, which was one of my personal goals before going to university.

It was a journey of self-discovery for Conor. He realized his strengths and weaknesses in his personal and professional skills lessons, which in turn gave him the business acumen he needed. “Designing our own companies, from a web business to an Italian pop-up shop in language development gave me better understanding of planning and teamwork. That is an important part of the CP, using your skills in every area of the programme and thinking about your future self all the time. I now know I am equipped for possible business endeavours if I ever chose to change my career. Previously, I was always biased towards scientific research careers so it was nice to get a fresh perspective and discover that I have new skills.”

The CP ignited Conor’s hunger to learn and now he constantly keeps an eye out for new information, skills and experiences that could potentially better him even further. After university, he hopes to move to either Holland or Japan to study for a Master’s degree or PhD.

The skills I gained will be invaluable as I pursue higher education


Christine Phan

Christine Phan, a 2016 graduate of JEB Stuart High School in Virginia, US, is now studying nursing at Marymount University. She studied business, geography and mathematics, which she says helped strengthen four lifelong skills – knowledge, critical thinking, engagement and communication.

“The most important lifelong skill that I learned in the CP was how to interact with my peers, which has helped me prepare for my college classes,” she adds. Christine most enjoyed participating in discussion groups, which she has become more confident in doing since starting the course. “The CP helped me to move out of my comfort zone and interact more in discussion groups.

“It allowed me to hear different point of views on a range of familiar and unfamiliar topics and made me aware that one person’s opinion is not always the right answer.”

Before deciding to become a nurse, Christine wanted to be a dancer. “My friends and I were about to audition in New York to become entertainers but, last minute we decided this may not be the right career for us. I wanted to become a nurse to be involved with helping and caring for other people. I enjoy helping make a positive difference. ”

My improved communication skills will help me care for my patients in the future


Pa Kou Lee

Pa Kou Lee attributes her strong life skills to the CP. The graduate of Roosevelt High School, in Washington, USA, believes that communication, analysis and research are some of the most significant skills she developed during the programme. She says these skills will be invaluable at college and in the workplace.

“In terms of personal development, the CP helped me have confidence in myself,” she says. “I improved my communication and analysing skills, which helped me develop the confidence to speak more with others than before.”

Pa Kou is studying to become a nurse at St Catherine University in Minneapolis, USA, a career field she has always wanted to enter.

Her favourite part of the CP was the reflective project, as it helped her further develop her research and creativity skills. But the most important lifelong skill she learned was to respect other people’s opinions. She says: “ I learned to be open-minded and acknowledge other people’s values and traditions whether I’m writing a paper or in the workforce. Every person has their own belief of what is considered ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.”


What is/was your experience of the CP? Let us know: email