The first employability event between Beths Grammar School and EBP Kent, delivered for the benefit of the school’s Year 11 and any Year 12 students who were able to visit the business volunteers at various points of the day. Working with the lead contact at the school, Matthew Neylan, an event was created catering to the student’s future aspirations, general employability skills (interview techniques, job application, for example) and the opportunity to come into contact with a range of education and training providers.
This was a full day event, lasting from 0910 until 1530, taking place on the 26th January 2018. A member of EBP Kent’s Level 6 Guidance staff also attended the event to offer impartial advice to any students still unsure of what their ‘next steps’ might involve.
Fully linked to the Gatsby benchmarks, the combination event, with information regarding Higher Education and Employability, formed the basis of the day. The event consisted of 6 zones that the students split into classes/Forms/groups rotated around throughout the day. Each session targeted a specific area of employability/University that was supported by industry and educative organisations.
- A stable careers programme
- Learning from career and labour market information
- Addressing the needs of each pupil
- Linking curriculum learning to careers
- Encounters with employers and employees
- Experiences of workplaces
- Encounters with further and Higher Education
- Personal Guidance
Gatsby Benchmarks 2, 3, 4 & 5: The event
- CV’s/Job Application: workshop based
- Condensed Exhibition Fair: Students in groups spending 10 minutes with each stand.
- Higher Education Opportunities Fair (Universities
- Interview Day: Interactive Workshop, team based, testing
- Employability Skills: delivered by EBP Kent, written by industry
- Interview Techniques/Interviews: Interactive workshop plus one to-one interviews.
- Talkshops: Short, sharp presentations: Selecting the right University or Higher Apprenticeship and producing an effective Personal Statement
Gatsby Benchmarks 3 & 4: The day
Handouts, missives, emails and meeting notes. 168 hours of logged time spent recruiting business volunteers or developing the day independently or with the school over the course of 3 months.
Gatsby Benchmarks 2, 3 & 4: The day
Sample Interview Questions, produced by business and given to the students in preparation BEFORE they had their interview
Gatsby Benchmarks 1, 2, 3 & 4:
Sectors/companies recruited using LMI data and ‘potential’ student aspirations (this pertains to the zones): Exhibition Fair and University Pathways.
- 38 Separate organisations involved
- 68 Business volunteers covering 6 Zones
Gatsby Benchmarks 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8: Volunteer Evaluations
- 100% of all business/educative volunteers said they would gladly participate in a similar event next year.
- 85% of all businesses or educative organisations said they were able to share pathway information, relating to careers/employment, apprenticeships and/or university.
- Most of the remaining 15% were conducting one-to-one interviews so didn’t necessarily have the chance.
- 85% of all business/educative volunteers felt that the students interacted ‘Very Well’ with them.
Finally, 100% felt that they were adequately supported during the ‘Get-In’ for the event and throughout the day
Gatsby Benchmarks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8: Student Evaluations
- 100% found the event to be a useful experience
- 98% of all students evaluated, commented that they were able to talk to people about the areas that they are interested in and about Apprenticeships, Colleges and University
- 97% of all students evaluated, would recommend that the schools puts on a similar event next year.
- 91% of all students evaluated, felt they now understood more about the potential opportunities available within a sector that they are interested in.
- 56% of all students evaluated, commented that the day had helped them to make an important decision about their futures.
‘Really enjoyed it. A different experience that allowed me to see people from various companies and gain a first-hand understanding of Universities and career opportunities.’
Gatsby Benchmarks 1, 2, 3 & 4: Improvements Moving Forward
- It would help if the students had the interview questions well in advance to better prepare for the experience
- If the students could do a couple of weeks’ work on the type of sessions they were going to experience, only to make the experience that more richer
- More time with the students in the Exhibition Fair
- Even more companies in the Exhibition Fair, catering to as many individual aspirations as possible (Forces to be involved for example)
- More hand outs for the students to take away More universities outside of London
- More apprenticeship routes and alternatives to university
- The option to choose which employers to speak with in the hall More interactive workshops and more time to talk to the employers A section linked to A Level information
- More preparation time for the interviews
- The first year for the event. Evaluations point towards a successful experience for students and exhibitors
- Businesses recruited from the local area and further afield, to ensure as broad a picture as possible was represented to the students
- A full range of Exhibitors was targeted to ensure as many aspirations as possible were targeted. Student evaluations established any missing areas that can be pursued for next time
- Teaching staff were encouraged to network with as many Exhibitors as possible, increasing understanding of current industry information
- Networking outcomes within the employer groups, sharing best practice and opportunities to engage with the school
- Information was sent out to the school beforehand to better prepare the students regarding type of questions to be asked and what exhibitors to target
- Students from Year 12 also attended, finding some area within the event that would best guide them as they make their choices and take next steps
- The venue was more than suitable for this type of event, and worked well for the events debut
- The set-up and support from the operations team in the school was perfect and ensured a fairly smooth get-in for all visitors. The school continued this trend throughout the day with wonderful hospitality that only added to the buoyant mood of the visitors in attendance. This will only increase the likelihood of the businesses supporting the school for further initiatives in the future
- Employers were encouraged to deliver their own personal stories of how they got involved with the organisation and the career pathways that were followed to get there (what qualifications and steps would need to be taken to follow a similar path). Conversations at a depth seemed to take place this, with some potential follow-up activities such as a ‘Careers’ Evening’ arranged for further on down the line
- There was a blend of more ‘conversation-heavy’ type stands with interactive-laden Exhibitors offering more of a chance to sample technology and equipment, along with the variety of workshops that the students were able to participate in