Rebecca Cashmore, Head of Careers at St Joseph’s College in Norbury delivered a mock interviews session as part of a broader employability day, in November.
Please describe your event and tell us what impact you hoped to have on your students.
We chose to do this event with year 11. We wanted them to meet employers and moreover we think that practise interviews only work with people they don’t know. The interviews were done in preparation for college and sixth form interviews. It was part of a broader employability session because students completed application forms for the interview. We introduced the event with an assembly and advised the students on how to conduct themselves during the interview.
How did you go about planning the event and how was Inspiring the Future involved? Was Inspiring the Future useful?
We started planning in September and asked for volunteers from parents, the local authority and Inspiring the Future. There were 30 volunteers, and the majority of whom came from Inspiring the Future. We took a cross-departmental approach with the English department and PE department. We organised for the English department to do application forms and created feedback sheets for the volunteers to use. We created a pack for the volunteers with suggested questions. We asked the PE department to highlight examples of good teamwork and leadership skills and asked for examples of creativity and communication from speeches in English – often the students don’t realise they are showing these skills.
How was the event received by the students and volunteers?
The volunteers came from professional backgrounds. We were really pleased with the standard of volunteers and are grateful that people gave their time for such activities. We always worry that volunteers will drop out but were happy to have them attending in good numbers. Moreover, they were all very nice to the students. One boy didn’t like his feedback but the way the volunteer handled it was impressive.
The students loved it. There were offers of work experience from some volunteers afterwards. Even though some volunteers offered to mentor, it will be tricky to set up mentoring considering issues of safety and monitoring. We will maintain ongoing relationships with some volunteers who are coming back to do a coffee morning and discuss more about what it’s like working in insurance and banking sectors.
Some boys used this opportunity to network and ask questions such as, “Will you help me to find work experience?” or “Will you help me to prepare for my interview?
What tips or advice would you give to schools to run a successful event of this nature?
Leave plenty of time for the planning. You need to show volunteers that it’s well organised. Make sure the students and the school are well prepared. The employers appreciated that there was an application form and that they were well informed about how the event was being approached. It’s a worthwhile event – if it goes well, the students get to know who we are, what we’re trying to do for them and that we’re here to help prepare them for their next step.
We would like to say a massive thank you to Rebecca for sharing your year’s experiences.
If you would like to organise a similar activity for your school, register with Inspiring the Future to start inviting volunteers and to have access to lots of resources to help you plan for your event.
Alternatively, you can contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.