Inspiring The Next Generation

Issue 31

Bryony Gibson, Managing Director of Bryony Gibson Consulting, talks about how we all have a role to play in encouraging the next generation of happy workers.

I’ve worked in recruitment for longer than I care to admit, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise when my 18 year old niece asked for help finding a job.

She’s an academic who’s decided to side-step University in favour of employment; and it got me thinking about the advice we give to young people. As a parent and recruiter I believe we have a responsibility to enthuse children with the desire to explore all of the new and exciting career opportunities available.

With so much technological innovation, many of the next generation’s jobs don’t even exist yet, but we owe it to them to encourage dreams of a future they will love, where they can thrive in work.

At the heart of empowering young people, work experience is key to helping students of all ages see what it is really like in the workplace.

Bryony Gibson

Encourage work placements

At the heart of empowering young people, work experience is key to helping students of all ages see what it is really like in the workplace.

The more time young people spend in business environments, speaking to business people and doing meaningful work, the better. It’s critical to their ‘work-readiness’ and will help them decide what they will enjoy doing in the future.

Have a great

CV It’s hard to make a CV look good when you have no experience, so help young people understand what you would want to see if they applied for a job with you.

To show drive and motivation make sure they include every part-time job, regardless of what it is.

Voluntary work and extra-curricular activities, along with interests, bring out their personality. Include things like supervising people, organising events, foreign languages or clubs like the Police Cadets.

Incorporation of work experience is a must no matter how small. It helps employers build up a picture of who the person is outside of school and their qualifications.

Know the options

If a student knows what they want to do and the academic subjects that will achieve this, then university is a fantastic career choice, as well as a great source of life experience; but it’s not for everyone.

Often costly, university no longer guarantees a better job or higher salary, so if a child is not academic, then following the pack may not be the best thing to do. Apprenticeships can be an excellent option and offer practical experience alongside the opportunity to study. Again, great if you know which career direction to go in, and there are lots of organisations who can help to secure apprenticeships that lead on to some brilliant jobs.

Traineeships are a good way to try a career before committing to that path. Usually lasting from six weeks to six months, they are available to 16-23 year olds, providing essential work preparation training, along with the practical skills and experience needed to move on to an apprenticeship or job. Internships are similar but less guided and available to people of all ages. If still unsure, a gap year is perfectly acceptable and doesn’t close the door on any of the other options. Instead it gives people time to figure out what they really want to do, while offering the opportunity to travel, work as a temp, meet new people and generally gain precious life experience that employer’s value.

There are lots of ways to support young people as they get ready for the working world, but the easiest way is to help them:

– Reflect: to think about what makes them happy, what they are curious about and what skills they enjoy developing. Being clear about what they don’t enjoy is also important.

– Explore: encourage them to research the different courses, training schemes and jobs that they feel attracted towards.

– Plan: work with them to prioritise the numerous options open to them, identifying the steps they need to take in order to move forward effectively and achieve their goals. Hopefully with the above advice we can inspire the next generation of happy workers.

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