Facilitating Virtual Work Experience
01 Mar 21
BY Rachel Lobban
01 Mar 21
BY Rachel Lobban
Rachel Lobban, Inzpire's recruitment and onboarding assistant
In February Inzpire’s HR and learning and development team presented a two-day digital careers workshop for the sixth form students at Sir Robert Pattinson School in Lincoln.
The overall aim was for Inzpire to provide practical guidance and advice to students on how to approach the job market whilst showcasing the power of social media and providing real-world tips and advice on applying, and interviewing for, roles and apprenticeships.
To start proceedings, Vicky Tinsley, Inzpire's learning, development and talent manager provided the students with a ‘day in the life of’ presentation which explored her role and the opportunities apprenticeships provide - one of Vicky's specialisms. The aim of this session was to open the students' minds to the fact that there are multiple traditional, and untraditional routes in to the workplace which could lead them to their dream career.
As part of the session, students were tasked with writing a job brief for a 1st line IT software engineer or a marketing manager. This was a good learning experience for the students and asking them to write these briefs themselves encouraged them to make them consider what they wanted to see from their future employers. It also enabled them to understand what would make their parents/guardians encourage them to apply to a particular company or role in the future, and what things to look out for on a job brief or job description.
When reading the students submissions for this task I was blown away by the high standard of work. They had really taken the time to do their research and some of their suggestions have really helped us in understanding the best way to catch the younger generation’s eye in the future!
The students had most likely heard about the importance of a good cover letter and CV thousands of times before this session, but we decided to add some real-world advice to their pre-exsting knowledge. We talked the students through specific elements of what we looked for in an individual’s application, from the basics such as correct spelling and grammar, to more advanced skills such echoing the language of the job advert and showing off their personality in a professional manner. We also talked through the power of social media when applying for a job, encouraging the students to take advantage of the opportunities LinkedIn can provide such as networking with individuals high-up in different industries whilst also keeping in mind the digital footprint they leave.
As part of the digital work experience programme we recorded videos to demonstrate poor interview conduct to assist in the students' learning
No work experience is complete without some roleplay, so to emphasise the importance of not only verbal communication at interviews but also the effect negative non-verbal communication can have we showed the students pre-recorded videos of ‘bad’ face-to-face interview conduct, highlighting issues such as being late, not looking presentable and incorrectly addressing the interviewer.
After an interactive discussion with the students around negative interviews, we followed up with a practical live demonstration of a ‘good’ virtual interview to highlight the things that an interviewer may pick up on that the interviewee may not have even thought about.
Talking to and engaging 60 students is a challenge under normal circumstances but with the added difficulty of talking to a blank screen, it felt like we were talking to a brick wall to start with. However, as the experience went on (and we figured out how to enable to chat function!) the students began to open up and ask questions, leaving us with an enormous sense of wellbeing, knowing we had made a difference to them and hopefully prepared them for future interviews - whether they be face-to-face or virtual as part of the "new normal".
Technical and Strategic Services OBU
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