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July 2013
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The Opportunity of School Leaver Talent

Posted by: Celine Floyd, Managing Psychologist, Capp


Following on from our last blog by Helen and Nicky on the AGR theme of harnessing school leaver talent, we reflect on the real opportunities that this talent pool presents to our clients, and why.


Graduates bring some fundamental, unique, and significant skills and knowledge. This is well known and celebrated, across the world. And rightly so.


However, the social and economical face of our next working generation is changing and the traditional university route isn’t feasible or indeed appealing to some anymore. More and more of our clients are turning to School Leaver and Apprentice Programmes and seeing exceptional performance. We speculate as to why.


Is it because their ‘minds’ and ‘horizons’ are still relatively broad? Having not focused in on one particular subject for three or more years, their modes of thinking and analysing, and their perspectives, are still mouldable. From the perspective of organisational culture, this is interesting too.


Whilst a lack of work experience on paper may seem a disadvantage, could it in fact be a benefit for your organisation? School leavers’ ways of working with others, delivering outcomes, and presenting themselves will all be built around your needs and established ways of working. If we can assess properly for that raw potential, then those vital employability skills can be developed in a quicker and more aligned way.


If we look at sponsored degree programmes, may we anticipate a higher level of engagement, motivation and performance because of a stronger psychological contract? We know that helping people to grow and learn is worth more to most than pure monetary reward, so do these programmes play to that in a really powerful way? The potential to build organisational commitment and loyalty with School Leavers in this way is significant.


Finally, one can assume that working whilst studying has benefits in itself. Having the opportunity to put into practice academic thinking in real time with fantastic immediacy renders experimentation and quick learning agility. We know that the bite size format of our development programmes works well, so this would follow through to students who study while working.


We are not discounting in any way the value that graduates add, but we also encourage a more holistic view of the early career talent out there.


What are your thoughts? We would love to hear your experiences. What differences have you seen between your graduates and school leavers? Why do you think this is?


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