For the last two years Ballakermeen High School and Junior Achievement have pioneered a programme that gives students the opportunity to experience ‘real-time real-life’ interviews conducted by recruitment professionals drawn from a broad cross section of leading island employers.
Thanks to a donation from Bramden Investments, educational charity Junior Achievement is now in a position to extend the programme to the Island’s other secondary schools during 2014.
JA programme manager Joy Spence and Ballakermeen High School key stage four leader Eoin Moriarty have been involved with the programme from day one. Eoin was inspired after attending a mock interview session as a student. ‘It made me think about what careers opportunities might be open to me,’ he said. He went on to say that although the sessions were not compulsory at Ballakermeen High School uptake had been encouraging, with around 340 students participating over the past two years.
With the European Commission estimating that 60 per cent of jobs young people hope to take up by 2020 do not exist as yet, and with employers’ recruitment needs constantly changing, ‘schools are struggling to keep pace’, said Junior Achievement Isle of Man chief executive Sue Cook.
Mrs Cook was addressing an audience at the Sefton Hotel of employers and educationalists at the opening of a presentation aimed at attracting more support for Junior Achievement’s Interview Workshops.
She explained: ‘These mock interviews give Year 11 students what is probably their first taste of what it’s like to go for an interview. They choose which employer they want to apply to, are given a real-life job description then have to prepare their CV which is submitted ahead of the interview. Students then have a one-to-one feedback session that outlines where they performed well and what areas need developing.
‘This experiential learning is all the more important in a contracting jobs market. It’s therefore crucial that young people have clearly defined career pathways. To achieve this we must equip them with the skills and confidence to succeed in an increasingly competitive global market.’
An ardent supporter of the programme is Manx Telecom. HR director John McChesney said: ‘The sessions enable us to collect some rich data and get some current views on what’s going on “out there”. It’s also a way of re-connecting with the community and putting something back. As an employer we gain valuable insight into what young people think of our business and it also provides opportunities for our people, faced with a rather different perspective, to develop their skills.’
In his closing remarks he praised the professionalism of Junior Achievement and said: ‘I would recommend the programme to any organisation.’
Ballakermeen High School students Roisin Thornton and Andreas Gutzold have been through the mock interview process. Roisin said: ‘I found the mock interview rewarding. ‘The skills I learned were invaluable: how I presented myself, my attitude, learning about the company.
‘I chose Barclays for my employer and before the interview I thought banking was all suits and formality. But researching the business beforehand revealed just how many different career opportunities existed and how much was involved behind a person’s job title. The whole process opened my eyes to what life might be like after school.’
Andreas said: ‘This was a first for me. The interview was run like a real one but without the pressure of trying to get a job at the end. I learned so much about what the interview experience entailed. To be able to engage one-to-one with the interviewers for feedback and get advice on how to improve myself as a candidate was really valuable. So a big thanks to Junior Achievement for empowering us to own our economic success.’
For employers wanting to know more about how they can get involved in 2014 contact Junior Achievement programme manager Joy Spence on 666266 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2012 Junior Achievement Isle of Man worked with 5,000 students in full-time education and reached more young people per head of population than any other JA-YE participating nation in Europe. To find out more, visit jaiom.im.