“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
This is a question students face throughout their school years, but don’t always have a clear answer for. While a robust career plan isn’t needed at age 16, they begin to make decisions around A-level studies, university courses or apprenticeships that will impact their career and employability later on. With the ever growing pressure on schools to deliver more with less, JCI London partnered with the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) to help build the employability skills and networks which education providers can’t do alone.
The programme is called Young Chamber, and was created by the LCCI to bridge the gap between students and the world of work. The programme offers a variety of services to schools, such as career and networking events, CV workshops, mock interviews, and more. A few of our members (including myself) had the pleasure of volunteering with the Young Chamber events during November.
I spent a morning doing mock interviews with students at St. Joseph’s College in Croydon, who were getting ready to write their GCSEs and decide what to do next. While they weren’t applying for jobs at this stage, the students picked an occupation they might be interested in (e.g. Software Engineer, Journalist, Counsellor) and wrote an application outlining how their skills and experiences which relate to this occupation.
My role was to simulate a real interview as much as possible, probing into their application and motivations behind the ‘job’ they applied for. I also answered their questions about what it’s like in the world of work. This was generally their first external interview experience, and therefore each student received detailed feedback about how they came across (i.e. clarity, body language, etc.) with suggestions for improvement. It was run very efficiently, and I was able to interview about 10-12 students for 15 minutes each.
I found the whole experience incredibly rewarding, and it’s truly amazing how much impact you can have in 15 minutes. It was great to see them actively taking my feedback on board, and I learned a lot about different career paths I had never considered. It also was inspiring to see the efforts they were putting into extracurricular activities to make them stand out, such as leading their football team, teaching Arabic, and running tutoring sessions on coding.
Our former JCI London Presidents David Khanna and Rafael Tselikas got involved with a careers event for Woodcote High School and Riddlesdown Collegiate. David and Raf met students from Years 9 to 12 (14 to 17 years) to discuss their future aspirations and share more information about JCI membership and how it could benefit their careers.
How to get involved
We will participate in the Young Chamber mock interviews again in 2019 to continue making this level of impact. Here are the first round of dates:
- Riddlesdown Collegiate – 23 January 2019, 8.40 – 14.40 (or part time)
- Archbishop Tenison’s CE High School – 5 February 2019, Morning & lunch
If you’d like to volunteer as an interviewer, please email Dovile Mikalauskaite, our 2019 Strategy & Partnerships Director to express interest – [email protected].
This post was written by Andrew Cornies