Today I am at a local employability fair, organised by our local council. I volunteered, after finding out about it in a newsletter. So I called them up, and offered giving advice for young job seekers on how to – and how not to – use social media in their job hunt.
As I don’t like handing out paper handouts, I’ve decided to use my blog (and Twitter) as a way to summarise my hints and tips – and comment on any results. I’ll be using the hashtag #cipdl2w for this, as I’m supporting the CIPD’s Learning to Work initiative – and this day is spent with our key stakeholder group – those young people…
I will update the blog throughout the day, from about 10.30 t0 13.30 (hoping someone will actually ask me any questions…)
Update 11:25: Things are going slow, as it’s sunny and shoppers are passing us by rushing their Saturday shopping. So I took to the opportunity to have a chat with the stand next to me, where youth work apprentice Katie is representing www.action4youth.org, an organisation that helps young people realise their potential by providing Summer activities, such as the National Citizen Service, and local community projects. Katie is on a one-year apprenticeship after finishing school. We talked about the challenges of choosing not to go to university, but to pursue what is clearly a professional vocation – helping young people learn new skills and gaining qualifications. Having worked with HE students all of my professional life, it was both refreshing and very interesting to see the world of work in a new light. With the current generation of young people having been given the impression that the only way to professional success is higher education, I found Katie’s perspective, and choice not only interesting, but also admirable – by not choosing the path tread by virtually everyone else, but to focus on what is important to her. And as my lesson for today so far, it’s nice to have a reminder what’s actually really important in the world of career decision making – and that is to do what you believe in.
Update 11:50: Interview with the organiser of today’s fair
Mel, who works for the local council, has organised this fair, because she wants to do something about youth unemployment, bringing together local partners and providers. It’s part of the local child poverty strategy – and Mel has organised similar events before, and will do so again. The fair makes excellent use of the footfall in a busy shopping mall, trying to access young people ‘hanging about town’ on a sunny Saturday. The aim is to get young people registering with the national apprenticeship service (www.apprenticeships.org.uk), sign up for workshops and training. And it’s great to see Mel at work, helping – often parents, thinking of their children – bridge that chasm between school, and the world of work. I join her on the now busy front desk, where requests from all demographics of the local community are coming in. What I really like about her and the fair she has organised, is the obvious enthusiasm and genuine passion Mel shows for this endeavour. What I’ve learnt from this is, is that opportunities to engage with – and help – the employability agenda are sometimes just around the corner.
For the final update, from the morning after go here.