Downend students given a taste of job interviews
Published on: 29 Jul 2014
STUDENTS at Downend School have teamed up with some of Bristol's leading business high-flyers to help them secure a bright future.
Members of the Bristol Junior Chamber (BJC), an organisation which promotes trade, commerce and industry in the city, gave up their time to hold mock interviews with the school's Post 16 students.
The aim of the event was to help students realise their strengths and potential, boost their confidence and open their eyes to the realities of the big wide world.
A total of 24 Year 12 students took part in the scheme. They filled out application forms where they described their GCSE results, A levels they are studying, hobbies and interests and work and voluntary experience.
The 17-year-olds were paired with a member of the BJC, including solicitors, event managers and bank workers, and went into an 'interview room' where they were asked typical questions such as 'describe an occasion when you have worked as a team'.
Following the interviews each student was given detailed feedback and a certificate.
Companies taking part included JLL, Rolls Royce, RBS, JM Finn, Glamis IFA, Alastair Currie Events, Deloitte, Coutts, Clarke Willmott, JBP as well as a local GP surgery.
Karl Brown, president of the BJC and former student at Downend School, said: "The purpose of the BJC mock interviews scheme is to give students real life experience of interviews and so students were asked questions which are similar to what would be posed to them in university/job interviews. The aim of myself and the rest of the BJC volunteer interviewers was to build up the aspirations and confidence of the students not knock them down.”
Karl, a commercial property solicitor at Clarke Willmott, said it had been a really worthwhile experience for both the students and members of the BJC.
“It was a fantastic experience to be back at my old school to help the current generation of Year 12 students. The students I met were enthusiastic and showed high aspirations.
“The BJC represents all of Bristol not just central Bristol and so I hope that the BJC can continue to support schools such as Downend in the greater Bristol region as well as central Bristol schools in the future.”
Claire Davies, who works for Coutts Bank and heads up the BJC's education and skills arm, said: "It is fantastic to have the opportunity to support the youth within Bristol and for the professional community to give something back.
"The feedback from both the members (interviewers) and the students from Downend School was very positive and I look forward to working with this school going forward. We are hoping to return early into the 2014/15 academic year."
Kate Long, head of Post 16 at Downend School, said: "The BJC interview evening is an amazing opportunity for students.
"We are so grateful to everyone who is willing to give up their time to help our students practice their interview techniques. All those involved have said what a valuable experience it is and that they now feel much more confident in their own ability.
"It is really hard at 17 years of age to think you have anything to say about how your personal skills set could contribute to a company so for students to find out that what they do is valuable to employers is priceless. This event is a must in our calendar!"
“My interview went really well. Karl gave me great feedback on areas I need to improve on so I can secure a job. It was very informative and I enjoyed it very much.”
“I want to be a solictor and I was told how my previous work experience at Clarks would have helped develop my people skills which would help when dealing with clients. It was a very useful experience and helped me get a perspective on everything.”
“I want to go into family law and study in Bristol but my interviewer encouraged me to look at university’s outside of Bristol and questioned my choice of career. I will take the advce onboard but I definitely want to focus on law and have done since Year 7.”
“I was nervous and had a few butterflies. I was asked to explain why I am interested in children’s nursing and how my skills relate to this field. I learned I came across as much more confident than I thought I did. The feedback is going to be useful.”