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Back in September 2018 we enrolled a group of students at Meadow Well Connected who were referred to our ESF Aspire programme by North Tyneside PALS. These learners were on a reduced timetable and were completely disengaged from mainstream Education. Over the first couple of sessions with these students our friendly and professional coaches worked hard to get to know the students, build up a mutual respect and overcome some very difficult barriers, which was particularly difficult during some of the classroom sessions.
Although there were one or two hurdles along the way, in the run up to the festive period the students became increasingly engaged in the sessions and began to work on developing their Employability skills through CV workshops, job searches and some Sport/Enrichment sessions to help maintain engagement and overall morale within the group.
New College Durham Visit
Just before the Christmas break the students were given the opportunity to visit New College Durham, whom we have also been working alongside since September 2018. This provided the group with the chance to tour the facilities, speak with curriculum leaders/tutors and gain an insight into different courses and career paths. The aim was to give the students an insight into College and to help with some of their upcoming career decisions. The day was a huge success and the students thoroughly enjoyed their time looking around the college and making use of some of the facilities.
In February 2019, we arranged for the group to partake in some mock interviews with Programme Managers from the Employment and Skills team. The purpose of this exercise was to give the learners a realistic interview experience to help develop confidence and to also develop their interview skills and typical questions they may face in a real interview. 11 students took part in total and feedback from students and interviewers has been fantastic, with students being praised for their enthusiasm and burgeoning confidence and the students, though initially nervous, gaining confidence and interview experience to support with their post 16 plans.
Each student had a thorough interview, being asked questions like “Employers need problem solvers, give me an example of when you have managed to successfully solve a problem?’’ as well as, "Employers need team players, describe a situation in which you worked as part of a team?’’. The interview was followed by feedback from the interviewer on how well they did and how they represented themselves. Again, we have witnessed an amazing improvement in student engagement and confidence throughout one of our fully funded ESF programmes and we hope they can continue to improve as they approach the end of their KS4 studies and make the jump into FE/Employment.