Peterborough Regional College (PRC) has been delivering a project called ‘Essentials for Employment’ on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council. The college has developed a programme designed to develop young people’s awareness of what to expect from the workplace and what skills and personal attributes employers value. The College have been working on a range of tasks designed to support the development of key employability skills such as communication skills, working as part of a team, customer service and managing themselves.
A key focus of the programme has been on providing opportunities for participants to meet with employers. This has provided an opportunity for them to showcase their skills, and find out what it is like to be employed. For each of the programmes delivered, young people have reported the engagement with employers as being the most fulfilling and useful part of the programme. “All the work we have been doing over the last few days makes sense now” said one of the participants.
Meeting employers is often scary for young people and they shy away from the challenge of being interviewed or holding a discussion with adults that they do not know. The success of the programme then is primarily down to the time and effort that local employers, like Jason at Keeping HR Simple have made to these young people.
Jason was one of 4 employers that supported a workshop in January 2014, helping us to provide an experience to a group of 14-16 year olds from a local school. Stella Cockerill, Project Manager said, “Jason’s knowledge of current recruitment practices was insightful and his ability to put young people at their ease and engage them was invaluable.”
Each employer has a different story to tell about their own work experience and it is in the sharing of some of these experiences that young people are inspired and able to appreciate the different career paths that are possible. This environment cannot be created through the use of tutors alone and employers add a dynamic that PRC cannot provide. They are an essential ingredient to preparing young people for the workplace.
Stella continued “in my view people make a difference to people and every engagement however small can have the most profound effect on our young people; breaking down barriers, developing confidence and preparing young people for the world of work. The best people to improve young people’s employability is employers and we thank people like Jason for giving up their time and sharing their knowledge and experience.”