I hope most young people will come through this COVID-19 crisis more mature, wiser and perhaps more employable. From an economic perspective, these are the most difficult times since the deprivation caused by World War II, with many families and young people having a wretchedly hard time in so many different ways. However, as a School Futures Advisor I try to focus on the potential positives that could come out of this pandemic; particularly for our school-age children.
Students continue to have great purpose in their lives: goals of GCSEs, A-levels (or technical qualifications) not to mention graduation or post graduation studies that lie ahead for so many. Whilst all this has been partially interrupted, I believe our young people are in the main, still in the midst of the most carefree, enjoyable and fulfilling times of their lives.
Job prospects now, and in the foreseeable future, are not as healthy as 6 months ago. However, I am a great believer that students who are well prepared for their futures will still find success; particularly as economies such as ours restart in earnest over the coming months.
Even in the past 8 weeks I have heard of numerous positive examples of success and here are two examples where St Jo’s former students (OBs) have adjusted and sought to make the most of the current situation:
a). One OB returned from university to see most food retailers advertising vacancies. Naturally, these positions were highly sought after, so he applied for as many as possible in a very short space of time and also followed up each application. This approach worked. Due to his efficiency, diligence and work ethic, he was quickly recognised by his employers as being a vital new employee. Yes, the hours may be deemed unsociable; rising at 1am each day however, he now earns a very good income whilst many of his counterparts are unemployed and thanks to his approach to employment, he is able to work as much (or as little) as he wishes.
b). Another OB is in quarantine due to family health issues and therefore has no opportunity to seek a job in the local area. Thinking ‘outside the box’ and using his skillset, he has set up a business he can run from home. His business? Building and maintaining websites. The business has been up and running for 9 weeks and during this time, the OB has confirmed 6 clients and is talking to many more. Going forward, the former student has a lucrative business which can provide a supplementary income when he returns to his university studies in October.
I accept not everyone can be as lucky as the two examples above but, through the excellent teaching and life skills learnt at St Joseph’s College, most of our students develop the tenacity and acumen to deal with what life throws at them; and respond accordingly.
Good traits to have when seeking employment:
1. Tenacity, speed and accuracy
The initial act of seeking employment, particularly when jobs are in short supply, means you should apply as soon as a vacancy is advertised. Make sure your application is accurate and somehow sets you apart. In this market both quantity and quality should pay dividends. I would also suggest following up your application as this demonstrates you are keen and willing.
2.Good communicators and unafraid of hard work
Employers subconsciously value people they immediately like and respect. This is usually down to personality so be polite, but with some confidence and charm. Be quick to volunteer for a task, if one is set and show extra effort and motivation as required.
3. Prepared to go above and beyond
Be prepared to do enough and then some more. Try not to loudly point out what is wrong at work but politely suggest minor improvements that could benefit all.
4. Be a great team contributor
Make a positive contribution to your team. Always try and be positive and cheerful however jaded you might personally feel.
5 Ask sensible questions and keep improving
Sensible questions while seeking approval of your worth, as well as showing management that you wish to improve and learn, are fantastically impactful.
If our students can find the drive and perseverance to follow these snippets of advice while job hunting, whether for their first part time, temporary or permanent role, they will have learnt the basic skills and attributes which will assist them going forward as they step up the career ladder.
As I have said, in my experience students at the end of their St Joseph’s College school career are already very well prepared for life outside our campus grounds. The College’s wonderful staff work very hard to nurture these fantastic attitudes. So as we wave goodbye to our 2020 leavers, knowing they have achieved their best grades and developed all of the above skills, a whole world of opportunities is opening up to them. I am confident the ‘COVID-19’ St Joseph’s College leavers will be hugely successful in the future while never forgetting the extraordinarily difficult times the world is living through right now.
Stay safe and well and remember, I am here if I can support anyone with any practical advice now, or in the future.
D Kemsley (Mr)
Student Futures Co-ordinator