As part of their Social Corporate Responsibility, Wolfestone employees conducted mock interviews at Bishopston Comprehensive school together with staff from Lloyds Bank, the Royal Navy, the British Army, Tata Steel and Swansea University.
When our HR manager Emma Hughes sent an email around inviting us to conduct mock interviews at Bishopston Comprehensive school on behalf of Careers Wales, I immediately signed up for it. More than anything, I was curious to find out, what careers young people in 2015 were aspiring to. Looking back at myself, I was a much undecided 15 year old when it came to my own career choices. My ideas ranged from physical education teacher to a professional photographer. Needless to say, I was not ready to be interviewed.
On the morning of the interviews, I actually felt a bit nervous and didn’t know what to expect, but my colleague Marie-Ange’s spoke very positively of her experience the day before, and this put me at ease. She explained to me that each student had completed an application form which included the subjects they were studying, their expected grades for their GCSEs, their interests outside of school, their career aspirations and their best achievements during their school years. So at least I had a piece of paper in front of me in case I ran out of interview questions.
Looking at my own nervousness, I wondered, how nervous must those children be? I definitely was glad that I was sitting on the other side of those desks (and I’d forgotten how small school desks are!) when I glanced across the room to the serious-looking gentlemen from the Royal Navy and Army. Like my colleague Geraint, I was proud to represent Wolfestone, a young, local business in Swansea among these massive names and to be able to share career opportunities with pupils that they may not have previously thought about.
However, from the moment the first pupils walked in, I was blown away by their confidence. Nice and welcome smile, strong handshake, I certainly didn’t expect that. During the next 4 hours, everyone chatted to me as if they’ve done those interviews many times before. The pupils shared their ideas about future careers with me, dreaming of a glamorous job on television or following in their parents’ footsteps as business managers, lawyers or finance directors. All of them wanted to do well in their GCSEs in the summer, juggling school commitments with their busy social life. If you think you’ve got your hands full with your full-time job and your family commitments, think twice! Those pupils are in cricket clubs, netball teams, Scouts, compete at football matches, bake cakes for charity, collect food for the Swansea food bank, are talented members of choirs and orchestras, volunteer as lifeguards, and and and.
In total, Marie-Ange, Geraint and I interviewed between 8 to 10 pupils each, asking the young people different questions related to their education, work experience and aspirations. Each interview lasted around 30 minutes. For the last 10 minutes, we provided pupils constructive feedback on areas such as: their application form, their communication skills, eye contact, body language and the identification of their skills and qualities. We also gave them tips on how to improve their interview technique and completed an assessment form for each pupil interviewed.
All in all, despite feeling tired, I really enjoyed my experience and as Marie-Ange says “I was pleased to have been able to help young people in Swansea prepare for Further Education as well as the World of Work”.
It was very rewarding to be part of it and I can’t help but wonder whether the students will take heed of my advice – have your CV proofread!
Written by Linda Roper with the support of Marie-Ange West and Geraint Jones