Ron Dearing UTC students have been given chance to hone their communication skills and practice interview techniques to help them prepare for their future.
Almost 120 Year 13 students took part in Covid-safe mock interview workshops with Ron Dearing UTC Governor Yvonne Moir, Human Resources Director at Spencer Group, which is one of the school’s Founding Partners.
They were given top tips on how to prepare for an interview in person and online, how to respond to questions and present themselves, CV pointers, and how to stand out from the crowd and make a great first impression.
They then completed 10-minute mock online interviews with representatives from some of the school’s founding and employer partners, including KCOM, RB, Siemens Gamesa, Smith+Nephew and Sonoco Trident.
The students received feedback on their performance, as well as tips on how they could improve.
It comes as formal applications for apprenticeships with Ron Dearing UTC’s employer partners open next week, giving students chance to apply for the roles they’re most interested in.
Businesses send available positions and job descriptions for students to consider before applying and each student has a mentor within the school to support them through the process.
Previous years have seen face-to-face mock interviews as well as an apprenticeship expo organised for students to meet potential employers and ask questions about the business and career opportunities in person
Virtual mock interviews had to be planned this year in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The apprenticeship expo will be rescheduled until later in the academic year, restrictions permitting.
Yvonne said: “Your first impression is the second you apply. Just because you may be online, you still have to present yourself properly.
“When you apply for a job, it’s likely the employer will look you up on social media, so it is important students post appropriately and know the content is visible. That can often be a first impression.
“I encourage the students to be themselves because we want to know who we’re employing, be polite because we can teach skills but we can’t teach attitude, be on time and be interested. If they want the role, they have to show they want it.
“These are essential life skills and it isn’t just about now. All of the students responded really well and these skills will help them throughout their careers.”
Dozens of Ron Dearing UTC students secured apprenticeships with some of the region’s leading employers despite the impact of the pandemic this year.
With other school leavers gaining places at university, securing employment or going into the Armed Forces, almost all Year 13 student who left the employer-led school this summer moved onto a positive destination.
Kathy Robson, Senior Assistant Principal for Student Destinations and Joint Head of Sixth Form, said: “The guidance and support our students receive is so important and it is vital we teach them these interview and communication skills, so they understand it is a competitive jobs market.
“Organising workshops and mock interviews gives our students the edge. We want to give them every opportunity and chance to succeed.”
The school’s Founding Partners, Major Partners, Partners and other local businesses can hand-pick their apprentices based on who they believe will fit into their teams perfectly.
Year 13 student Charlie Kearton, 18, is studying Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Single Computing, and hopes to study Computer Science at university before becoming a software developer and engineer in the future.
Charlie said: “The workshop was really good and very informative about how first impressions don’t just start with walking into a room, but with sending off your CV.
“It’s a great strength of the UTC that we learn these skills. It helps us to be much more prepared for the world of work.”