There is frequent criticism of school and college leavers that they are unprepared for the world of work, so is there anything employers can do to ensure they get the workforce they need?
Earlier this week, I went back to school. I never liked attending school as a pupil, but things have moved on since the Seventies, and I have been particularly impressed with many schools taking an active interest in ensuring their students are prepared for work. This includes careers days, when local employers are invited to set up stall to provide information on what is required to be an Engineer, Army Officer, Beautician, Accountant etc but of course there's a bit more to it than just giving information.
I first took part in mock interviews when working for Atkins, and have taken part over the years trying to provide a balance between positive reinforcement and constructive feedback. This week, it was the turn of the Priory Community School Academy Trust, where I was one of about 25 interviewers. We had a fairly swift turnover, with interviews lasting no longer than 15 minutes, and during that time I interviewed for Nursery Assistants, a Chef, a Salesman, Games Designer, Photography Assistant and a Beauty Therapist.
The calibre of the interviewees was very high, particularly as they were Year 10 students (15-16 years old). Quite understandably, there were some who were still thinking about their options, but more were very clear in their ambitions. I found CVs very nicely laid out and targeted, and the students had thought about the route to their chosen careers. Each interviewer was asked to pick a "winning" interviewee, and mine went to Jodie, who (in the face of some great competition) got my interviewee of the day award.
James Wilmot, the Head of Careers at Priory, planned the day with military precision (after the mock interviews, he had invited a money expert and a local entrepreneur to talk to the students) and I was honoured to be a part of it.
I thought it would be useful to give a summary of the tips from the day:
Thanks again to James, and to Jim Roach from ARV Solutions for releasing me for the morning to take part in something so valuable. Thanks also to the fabulous students at the Priory, and I hope to see next year's Year 10s in 2017.