“I attended the interview day to conduct mock interviews with a group of 15/16 year olds, offering feedback on their covering letters and CVs.
I was struck by the variety of different approaches and styles. Many of the students had received little or no formal instruction on how to write a job application. With so much on the academic agenda of schools, there is little time left to consider supporting students’ entry into the workplace (those students I met had just sat their mock GCSEs). This further highlights the importance of experiences such as this offered by Learning to Work.
Perhaps my most striking observation of the day was how many of the students lacked confidence in themselves and their abilities. Three quarters of the students I spoke to cited shyness as their primary area for improvement. These same individuals described themselves as outgoing, adventurous and social within their friendship groups. At the idea of speaking to an adult ‘stranger’, however, they became shy and tongue-tied. After some time talking with me and a little coaching, these students became visibly more relaxed, spoke more naturally, and were better able to express their strengths, hopes and ambitions. By the end of the day, they were proud for having completed a challenging activity that took them out of their comfort zone and came away much more confident in their ability to interview well. This is a huge endorsement of the worthiness of the Learning to Work initiative, and as a facilitator I took great satisfaction from seeing the students come away more assured in their abilities.
To anyone considering supporting such an initiative, I would say – don’t underestimate the impact that it will have on you also. I discovered that I rather enjoyed the coaching aspect of the day, which is something I hadn’t tried before. I came away not only with the sense of having made a positive difference and contributed to a worthwhile cause, but also with a better sense of my own purpose.”