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November 2019
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mentor

Your New Year’s Resolution – Give One Day

Posted by: Vernon Bryce, Director, Capp

 

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged
by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character”

Martin Luther King Junior, 28 August 1963

 

One day you were young and people cared about you. You had dreams, ambition, hope and energy. In school, your teachers worked hard to realise your potential, teaching you things that they knew you needed to know. You probably disagreed and preferred to get back into your music, sport, seeing your friends and having a social life. Nevertheless, people around you pressed on with your development, whether parent, sibling, neighbour, gang, friend, person of worship. So you had a few breaks. You had a few setbacks too, but you cracked on, hoping that your drive, your hopes and aims would lead to something. They did.

 

Now you are older and you have made a few steps forward. You are in work. You have a career. You have options and pathways ahead of you. You get holidays. You travel. You learn. You grow. You even have days of learning and growing. You are online. The world’s web is open to you. You win.

 

Now you are older and made a few steps forward, you may wonder how the young of today are doing. Well friends, more than 430,000 young people are facing long-term unemployment in the UK. Across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East the numbers are no less, and no less worrying. A forgotten generation who wonder who will care for them, their dreams, ambitions, hopes and energy. Who will help realise their potential? Who will invest in them as others invested in you? They’re into sport, music and the people around them whether parent, sibling, neighbour, gang, friend, person of worship do care, yet no breaks.

 

‘’With more than 430,000 young people in the UK facing long-term unemployment, it is frightening to think about the young lives that could be wasted if we fail to give them the urgent support they need’’

Martina Milburn CBE, Chief Executive, The Prince’s Trust

 

Let’s imagine one day, somebody gave them a day. Just one day of their time. And it started feeding their hunger, their need to grow and succeed like you. Then another gave a day. They started to invest one day a month, offering this time to young early career people in their business, work-place and neighbourhood. The skills, knowledge and expertise were transferable and then replicable. Yet more was to come. In transferring this, those giving their time began to gain insights experiences and skills. Their work improved, their engagement and innovation improved. Transfer made a difference.

 

One day. That’s all it took. And because one day some time ago somebody invested in them, one day made a difference. Giving one day made them who they were. That one day was all it took. It mattered then to you in those days and it matters now. Imagine your one day will make a difference, one day.

 

“The statistics are terrifying – the United Nations International Labour Organisation (ILO)
estimates that close to 75 million 15-24 year olds are out of work”

Hannah Barnes, BBC News, Radio 4, 12 September 2012

 
 

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Employability (Part 2): Five Top Tips for Showcasing Your Skills

Posted by: Sue Harrington, as part of School Leavers’ Fortnight

 

Often school leavers are caught in a seemingly irresolvable situation: you need a job to develop your employability skills, but you need employability before you can secure a job.

 

But consider this: as a school leaver, you may be more employable than you realise.

 

Here are our five top tips for young people just leaving school and entering the job market, to help you assess and develop your personal employability skills:

 

1. Identify and map your own employability strengths: Understanding your own strengths will help you to assess your employability. You can do this by completing Capp’s Realise2 strengths assessment (www.realise2.com) and then mapping your strengths onto the five elements of personal employability that I outlined yesterday. For example, if your strengths include Personal Responsibility, Persistence, Planful and Drive, what does that say for your level of self-direction?

 

2. Provide concrete examples of your employability: Look for the opportunity on application forms or at interviews to demonstrate your employability. Have you taken up a new hobby, researched it, taught yourself the requisite skills and become competent? Have you planned and arranged a holiday for you and friends? Remember, as a school leaver, employers will not be expecting all your employability evidence to be work-based.

 

3. Use work experience: Have you already gained some work experience, in the evenings, weekends or school holidays? This will have given you some insight into what it is like at work – what has it shown you about working in teams, solving problems or dealing with customers? What difficult situations have you handled successfully?

 

4. Gain more work experience: All work experience is useful for developing your employability skills and shows initiative on your CV and application form. Are there any internships available in jobs that interest you? Try searching the Internet or talking to your parents and their friends about opportunities where they work. Consider volunteering – unpaid work is still valuable experience and shows your work ethic to potential employers.

 

5. Find yourself a mentor – think of an adult you know who you respect and can talk to easily, preferably one who has the type of job you would like. This might be a member of your own family, a friend of your family, or the parent or elder brother or sister of a friend.

 

Talk to your mentor about their job and what it is like at work. For example, you might what to talk to them about the following things:

  • How did they get the job? Where was it advertised? What did they include on the application form? What questions were they asked at the interview?
  • What strengths, skills and knowledge are important for doing their job well? What are the challenges of their job and how do they overcome them?
  • Discuss your own strengths with your mentor and how you think they map onto employability. Talk to you mentor about how you can apply your experience to securing a job. For example, you may have been the captain of a sports team at school (which would demonstrate team-working skills and leadership potential) or you may have learnt to rock climb or play a musical instrument (demonstrating initiative, persistence and drive).

 

Leaving school and finding that first job is both exciting and daunting. Whilst having the right qualifications is still important for many jobs, understanding employability and being able to demonstrate these skills to potential employers is key.

 

In fact, it could just be the key that unlocks the door to your first job as a school leaver seeking employment.

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