More than 200 students in Coventry have gained vital interview advice from a panel of business experts led by Yorkshire Bank.
The year 11 students at Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School and Language College in Potters Green Road, Coventry, were asked to prepare a 15-minute presentation highlighting their employability skills.
The group was then invited to the Ricoh Arena in the city to give their presentations to Stephen Cronin and Kate Wood, representatives from Yorkshire Bank’s Coventry Financial Solutions Centre (FSC), Wates, Whitefriars Housing Group, Button Legal, Electrical Engineering Solutions Limited and the school’s governors.
Stephen Cronin, managing partner at Yorkshire Bank’s FSC at the Ricoh Arena, said he had been impressed by the standard of their interview skills.
“It can be a nerve-wracking experience going for your first interview whether you’re looking for a part-time job while at university or a permanent position after leaving school,” he said.
“This was designed to give the year group the opportunity to experience an interview and give a presentation for real in front of members of the local business community.
“It also gave us the chance to offer feedback on the importance of their appearance, punctuality and the content of their talks.”
Helen Knight, head teacher of Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School and Language College, said it was vital students had experience of interviews before they entered a competitive jobs market.
“We set them a challenge to promote their employability skills and the feedback from the business panel was very, very positive and from the students themselves because you could see some of them grow in confidence,” she said.
“Whether students intend to stay on at 16 or leave school, they need to be able to give a good account of themselves in interviews and the best way is to practice and learn from the experience.
“I think they ought to be able to present themselves in such a way which shows their communication skills and that they are reliable, trustworthy and willing to learn so that they can go on and develop in the workplace as well as having qualifications.
“It is the first time we have done this and we have been really pleased with the response from the pupils and we would like to thank the businessmen and women for giving up their time and for their valuable input.”
Fifteen-year-old student Annie Hunt said she had felt nervous but she had found it really useful.
She said: “It was a good idea and it was great to get the feedback because I found out how I can improve for future when I go to an interview for real.
“I know I need to expand more on my out-of-school activities because employers are interested in this kind of detail since it highlights the kind of person you are as well as looking at your exam results.”