Sweaty palms, a dry mouth and nervous laughter are all familiar pitfalls when people have their first job interview but our pupils have learned to take that all in their stride after taking part in a series of mock job interviews to prepare them for their future world of work.

The Year 10 and Post-16 students were prepared for life beyond the classroom thanks to a scheme with Ahead Partnership, which helps young people get the skills and experience they need to help land their dream first job.

The careers advice experts gave the pupils practical advice on how to control their nerves and feedback to ensure they are able to bag that first step on the work experience ladder. Business leaders and education providers from the area also visited to advise pupils on possible career paths and the steps they needed to take to achieve their goals.

After being interviewed, the Tong Leadership Academy pupils commented on how the experience had helped to ease feelings of anxiety around formal interviews and boost their confidence.

Year 10 pupil Nevaeh McGinty said:

“The interview process allowed me to see that entering the world of work wasn’t as terrifying as I thought it was. The interviewers were friendly and took a genuine interest in what I had to say, which reassured me that I shouldn’t be nervous about having an interview. I really enjoyed the one-to-one focus as it helped prepare us and gave us a real glimpse of life beyond school. My entire concept of looking for work has been changed because I understand now that stepping out of my comfort zone isn’t as scary as I thought.”

Principal Daniel Styles said:

“We are very grateful to Ahead Partnership for its support in helping us prepare our pupils for job and further education interviews. The key to success in any endeavour is to be prepared, so we wanted to give our pupils the chance to experience a mock interview in as real conditions as possible. The pupils were a credit not only to themselves but also to the school and presented themselves very professionally.

“The experience of being interviewed by unfamiliar adults will be of great value. I’m confident that the pupils will now be able to utilise the tips and skills they learned and apply them to a variety of situations, whether that is to secure a weekend job to earn some extra money, gain full-time employment, an interview for a university place, or to ensure they land that first graduate job as they start their chosen professions.”