As we celebrate national Employability Day, Jayne Licari from BNP Paribas Personal Finance gives her perspective on how to host a successful Career Taster Day - something she knows well having delivered some great days for young people on the Dallaglio RugbyWorks programme.
Since launching our partnership with Dallaglio RugbyWorks and enabling them to launch their programme in the West Midlands, we’ve hosted three Career Taster Days so far and have more planned with other major employers in the region.
From speaking with the team at Dallaglio RugbyWorks including coaches Gareth and Aleki and Tom, Employability Manager, I was amazed at just what an important role Career Taster Days play in giving young people both an insight into the world of work and, more importantly, hope for the future and more self-belief.
I had lots of support from the team at Dallaglio RugbyWorks in shaping the day to make sure the young people would get a varied, interactive and fun experience. I appreciate working in financial services and in an office isn’t for everyone so knew my objective was not to persuade them otherwise. Instead I wanted each and every young person at our Career Taster Day to realise everyone is unique with valuable skills and that there’s a job out there to suit you. Whether that’s in finance, construction, manufacturing or customer service, find what interests you and pursue your goals
I was amazed at just what an important role Career Taster Days play in giving young people both an insight into the world of work and, more importantly, hope for the future and more self-belief.On arrival, the young people needed time to settle in a new environment as for many it was the first time in an office. We found it best to do a simple game to make the students more at ease and to keep the sessions very informal and interactive. Young people don’t want endless power point slides so we used videos and competitions to teach people about what we do.
Having the young people in small groups worked well and we had cards with names of the different departments you’d find within our and most other organisations and the young people talked about the skills you’d need to work in each one. Then to make the session more interactive and to bring it to life we had one person from each of ten departments and the students quizzed them to guess which department they were from. This really helped bring some people out of their shell and made it much more fun.
After lunch we had a tour of the building so people could see for themselves the tech kit in IT and the Apple Macs in our design studio. This helped the students visualise what jobs are out there and what they might be more interested in doing. Seeing the table top football in our customer service centre was certainly a bit hit!Finally, some of our apprentices met with the students to talk about their experiences and how they found job opportunities even though they initially didn’t know what they wanted to do. These real-life examples were really powerful and the students connected well with our apprentices as they could relate to them more.
My personal satisfaction from the day came from seeing the difference between the young people arrive looking very reserved and unsure to the end of the session when they were smiling and thinking about what they might enjoy in the future. Our colleagues who got involved in the day also benefited and felt being involved was a rewarding experience, knowing that if young people have four or more of such days means they’re 86% less likely to be NEET. That in itself it shows the power of such events.
I’d love to see other companies get involved; particularly in sectors such as construction, automotive and manufacturing. A Career Taster Day is normally from 10am – 2pm so the investment in time is tiny compared to the value it can have for young people and your employees. To make a Career Taster Day a success these are my top five tips:
1. Put yourself in the shoes of the young people. They probably feel daunted so make them feel at ease and keep it informal
2. Make the sessions short and interactive – get the students involved and give them variety
3. Keep it fun. Include competitions, quizzes, games and prizes always go down a treat
4. Make it relevant. Have young people in your organisation involved who the students can relate to; especially apprentices
5. Lunch – forget quinoa and falafels; these teenagers are going to enjoy pizza, burgers and wraps far more. This was the hit of the day!
If you would be interested in delivering a Career Taster Day, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org