Last week saw us being invited to Thomas Deacon Academy in Peterborough to work with groups of their Year 11 students. The Academy is committed to working with the community and local businesses to support learning and careers. Every year, they ask local businesses to get involved in work-related learning to build effective partnerships between education and employers. They benefit from a careers learning development and information, advice and guidance team called i.can.be who help and support the students into the world of work.
This was the second year we were invited to participate in interview training and we were delighted to be asked back! It’s not an experience for the faint-hearted although the i.can.be team, the teachers and teaching assistants are extremely supportive, making sure they didn’t leave us alone with the students! However, you are still asked to stand in front of a group of between 20 and 30 youngsters and try and engage with them. The lesson plan and content is provided but you are there to “tell it like it is”. I found that the students were most interested in my interview horror stories! They also engaged well with the mock interviews done as part of the lesson. Even as an adult I cringe doing role plays so for the kids to stand up in front of the peers and role play an interview with me, a complete stranger, was extremely brave.
It’s a very enjoyable experience though because you can see that, with at least some of the group, your words sink in. They realise that they have to prepare themselves for interview and that turning up late, poorly presented and not really interested in the role are not the ways to get themselves employed. You can see lightbulbs going on with some of them when it dawns on them that they really need to sort out their online persona before applying for jobs. They’re surprised when you tell them that they will be googled and judgements made about them based on the information that’s available on their Facebook page or Twitter account.
Really, the aim of the exercise is to help them to prepare for the world of work. If one student out of the four groups we spoke to (two groups each – one after the other!) takes what we talked about and has a better interview as a result, then it’s a job well done as far as I’m concerned.
If you’d like to find out more about working with local schools or think we can help you and your business with interviews, contact us on 01487 815720