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NOW CLOSED: Talk work experience experiences and views with Barclays: one MNer will win a £200 JL voucher

(81 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 20-May-13 10:34:15

You may have seen something about it already - but if not then we'd like to introduce, LifeSkills created with Barclays. This new programme is being supported by Mumsnet and is designed to help get one million young people ready for work by 2015.

For loads more info click here.

Barclays want to know from you:

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?

Let us know your thoughts on this thread - everyone who adds a comment will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £200 John Lewis voucher

Thanks
MNHQ

Also - for another chance to win that voucher, please share on this thread if you do anything to support the LifeSkills programme - eg if you share it with your school, with another parent, with your employer, or with your company etc.

dahville Tue 21-May-13 09:19:33

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

Independence - this means the ability to do things for themselves and to think for themselves.

Little by little kids should be learning how be independent, whether it is how to laundry or how to question something they've heard/learned at school.

I don't think this is being properly taught. A lot of the kids I know are coddled and given everything materially without having to work for any of it. Neither do I think independent thought is encouraged in most schools.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

I think we did more for ourselves when we were kids but I think the independent thought was hit or miss depending on teachers and parents.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?

To trust my own voice more. I want my kids to know it is okay to say I don't know but I am willing to learn.

delasi Tue 21-May-13 10:07:20

What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
- To accept that sometimes, you might not like your job! When work is hard to come by you have to take what's available and make the most of your situation. Work hard, be respectful, find the positives in your position and keep going until you get something you do love.
- Every experience is positive. Don't undersell yourself, derive the transferable skills from what you've already done.
- Be pro-active, take initiative, employ common sense. All of that! For example, if something goes wrong at work, regardless of your job, try to find a practical solution or seek someone who can where relevant don't just stand there
> I don't think these things are really taught as they run more along the lines of tips rather than practical skills.
- In terms of practical skills: CV writing, basic literacy and numeracy, clear verbal communication. I think these things are listed as being taught, but practically a lot of young people leave school with weaknesses in these areas.

Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
I left school in 2005, which wasn't that long ago. From what I know of those around me school hasn't really changed much - not better, and not substantially worse. However the external provisions for young people in this area have suffered a huge blow due to funding cuts. At that time, there was a lot of funding available for youth initiatives and career support for 16-25 year olds. A lot of that has gone now and in quite deprived areas, like where I grew up, that was the only provision so now they're left with nought.

And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
It's okay to say no - whilst it's good to grab an opportunity, don't let management make you feel like your job is at risk if you can't do overtime (for example...).

PostBellumBugsy Tue 21-May-13 10:23:05

AnnMumsnet - I did look at the link & I commented on the website specifically. The question I asked was if Barclays were actually going to deliver their programme in schools as I couldn't tell if that were the case.

pippop1 Tue 21-May-13 11:39:22

What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

They need to learn old fashioned politeness to existing employees at the firm. It's a big shock and change from school (where unfortunately you can be v bolshi and the consequences are normally not too severe) to work, where the consequences can be extreme (being out of a job). They need to learn the difference between attitudes required the two settings.This could be done by role play. They need to understand the importance of timekeeping in that they have to factor in extra travel time in case a train/bus is late and that it is not acceptable to be late even occasionally. The same with lunch hours and also that it may well be necessary to stay later than your contracted hours every day and for no pay in order to progress to the next level.

Also good for them to understand in a simple way about tax, national insurance, sick pay, how overdrafts may affect applictions for mortgage in the future and so on.

They need to have a version of confidence in themselves at work between knowing everything (and therefore not asking and making mistakes) and knowing nothing and being paralysed with fear and so using no initiative at all. This comes with age. Politeness comes in here too.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

It's about the same (I'm 51 and went to a girls grammar school) except that more information is freely available due to the internet. That said, you can Google anything at all, but of course you have to know what words to use to ask the questions and whether to trust the answers that you get. I think it's good for a new worker to have a trustworthy person at work that they can go to to ask a confidential question.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
It wasn't at all necessary to have a voccational degree (in the 1980s anyway) in order to succeed or make it worth going to University.

FreckledLeopard Tue 21-May-13 12:33:09

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

If we're talking about young people (i.e. those leaving school at 16 or 18 and looking for work), then there are a number of key skills that many young people seem to lack:

- Professional demeanour - eye contact, standing up straight, confidence, dressing correctly, speaking nicely, not chewing gum/playing on their phones/chatting with mates instead of serving customer etc.

- Telephone and written skills - many people (not just young people), have shocking phone and written skills - poor spelling, grammar etc

- Time keeping, punctuality, enthusiasm and committment

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

It's hard to say with any certainty. I was at an independent school where the expectation was that everyone would go to university and embark on a career. In addition, we had organised work experience and had a lot of key skills drummed into us from an early age. We were also in an affluent area which had the effect that most of us were confident, well-spoken and even if not particularly bright, could easily get a job as a PA, receptionist or something similar, as opposed to a 'career' as such.

Having said that, people of my cousins' or parents' and grandparents' generation were certainly far better prepared for the world of work than this generation is. Partly there was the expectation that if you weren't in grammar school, then you'd be leaving school at 14/16 and going out to work (I accept I'm talking about several generations ago). As such, young people were taught key skills (three 'Rs', vocational skills etc) that enabled them to find work more easily. I think with the current emphasis on continuing education for all, the idea that young people need to be prepared for the workplace has faded, with disastrous conseqences.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?

That even once you've secured the qualifications and you're on a career path, nothing is ever certain. Redundancy etc is always a possibility and you therefore have to prove yourself constantly and never rest on your laurels.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 21-May-13 12:53:11

OK PostBellumBugsy - sorry - will come back to you on that.

fossil971 Tue 21-May-13 13:32:05

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

Independent transport - driving licence or at least not needing your mum to take you everywhere. Being reliable. Being able to relate to people of different ages/cultures (Scouts/guides, sports teams etc good for this). IT skills - this is one area where young people are a significant ADVANTAGE over their potential employers! English and maths. Technical skills of all kinds are still in short supply. I believe in touch typing as well but for some baffling reason it's fallen by the wayside in schools.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

You need to think about different types of work and the skills needed for them. When I was a teenager, the most lasting impressions I had were from young people a few years ahead of me coming back into school or at a careers event, telling us how it is. It would be great to see some videos of 17/18 year olds actually in the workplace and talking about how they got their jobs and what it's like to be there. You could show them off duty to illustrate they might dress or behave differently out of work. You could illustrate that their shift starts at 7 am or they have to wear a uniform. They could say they get freezing cold on site or their feet are killing them after standing up all day but they earn respect from their colleagues for putting up with it and the advantanges are they have their independence and wage to take home. The website looks nice but I think it could do with more video and the voices of young people who have crossed the divide, so to speak.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
Opportunities don't come looking for you, you have to go and get them.

ShatnersBassoon Tue 21-May-13 13:52:59

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
Independence. Too many children are spoonfed in every part of their lives that becoming a functioning adult seems too difficult. From not being allowed to walk to school unaccompanied, to being tutored to get them through examinations, children aren't given enough control over their lives. Experience of dealing with unexpected or difficult situations would help many young people get to grips with working life.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
I think things were better when I was at school. We were given more responsibility for our own success and were left in no doubt that if we didn't help ourselves then we would fail smile

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
I wish I'd known that you didn't need a briefcase if you worked in an office blush

sharond101 Tue 21-May-13 21:27:36

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
YOung people need to be taught to problem solve, work as a team and people skills. So many of them are not use to talking and listening to other people.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
I think things are worse. The school leavers seem to believe they know enough and more than those in the profession already. They have little respect or people skills.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
That I didn't need to go to University to get a good job. So many of my friends have did what they wanted to do without the stress of University and make a good salary.

FattyMcChubster Tue 21-May-13 21:30:50

People these days need real life skills. I understand there is a curriculum but how does it fit in to today's life? If people need to study specific things to train in a certain job them fine but what about life skills?
Why can we not have lessons on mortgages, loans pensions and savings?
How to run a home, look after dc, social skills such as co-habiting.
So many things I learnt in school I have never ever used again and so much I really could have known.
Even in lessons such as home economics I don't think there was enough emphasis on being self sufficient when living alone or how to feed a family.
Wht about budgeting? How to fix and mend things? Real life skills we could use day to day.

I know we have to learn to read, write and use arithmetics but I really see other subjects are more specific to future careers and not suitable for everyone.
It's hard because this would mean choosing a career at such a young age but there has to be an alternative surely?

DoodleAlley Wed 22-May-13 12:06:27

- I think young people need to be given a sense of confidence about working independently and taking responsibility. I think we are risk averse as a society which can make the leap from education to work a difficult one and no, I don't think this is taught well enough.

- I don't think things were that different when I was at school

- prior to starting work I wish I'd learnt the basics of being in an office and I wish I'd been encouraged to be more confudent

JedwardScissorhands Wed 22-May-13 14:46:44

what skills do young people need to get ready for the workplace?

General practical life skills, not necessarily things connected with work. Being sociable and having sensible adult conversations. Cooking their own meals. Being able to change lightbulbs and fix toilets. Not continuing to be treated like toddlers by their parents when they are or are nearly adults.

Do you think things were better when you were at school?
God no! I was taught how to make a quilted cushion and make a jar of lemon curd. A quick careers session, but no practical skills.

What do you wish you had known?
To be more practical.

stonesteps Wed 22-May-13 15:44:26

- What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

My younger brother just left education and he is wholly unprepared for the real world. He hasn't been taught anything that he will need to know for the world of work in terms of how he will be paid, sick pay, annual leave, anything like that. He even asked me if he will have to pay tax! He finished top of the class, great grades, and yet there was no teaching on the basics of getting by at work. I think that people now need to be more educated about the dangers of debt as well.

- Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

We were taught an enrichment program that taught us about tax, mortgages, rent, etc. I was surprised he wasn't taught any of this.

- And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?

I wish I had known my rights and felt more able to stand up for myself. I refused my boss's advances aged 16 and was promptly gotten rid of! It didn't occur to me for years later that this was illegal!

MegBusset Wed 22-May-13 16:49:03

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
Interview skills, budgeting, how to present yourself professionally especially in the age of social media. My DC are too young to worry about all this but I'm not at all sure these skills are being taught.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
No, I don't think they were better. IT "lessons" were laughable then and the only exposure to the world of work was a week's work experience. Mind you, as it was a grammar school it was expected that most kids would go on to university - I was in the minority going to work straight from A-levels.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
Financial management would have helped a lot - took me quite a few years to get my income and expenditure properly balanced!

ifindoubtnamechange Wed 22-May-13 22:36:17

I work with teens and think this will be quite useful. I've forwarded in the link to some colleagues including our careers advisor and we're going to talk about how to maybe use it.

smokinaces Wed 22-May-13 23:57:49

Barclays want to know from you:

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
How to dress. How to act. How to speak. How to respect. How to be independant. How you have to be responsible for your own actions. And no I don't think they are being taught it nearly enough.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
Prospects without a degree were better ten years ago. I'm in a field that previously experience held in good weight. Now you have to tick that degree button, regardless of your work ethic, Experience or recommendation.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
To save what you earn!

iwantavuvezela Thu 23-May-13 10:25:18

Barclays want to know from you:

What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
I think the skills for today's youth are the ability to be a learner through life. It is my belief that the jobs (primary aged children) will do when they leave school, are perhaps still not known. Therefore if we cant predict the types of work, what children need is the ability to learn, the ability to change. I also think that creativity, will be essential. I think there will be a shift from my day (moons ago) where you learned something like nursing/lawyer/banking - and then that is what you did. The shift will be to be able to take skills and transfer them.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
100% - we did tedious rote learning; nothing creative; basic career advice given. I look at the education my daughter is getting at marvel at it. How much fun they make learning, how hard they try (teachers) to create a good learning environment.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?

I think basic money management; what a credit card is; what lending money entails; how to buy a house/rent - practicalities. When I look at my friends, i can see how those who had parents with no financial skills passed on nothing to their children - also schools did not do anyting around this, so you have basic misunderstandings about lending; debt etc.

wickeddevil Thu 23-May-13 13:35:33

What are the skills you think young people really need today in the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
Clear confident communication with appropriate body language; eye contact, hand shakes, sitting up straight and looking interested.
Team working, friendliness, ability to follow instructions and complete tasks.
As the very proud mum of a DS who recently started an engineering apprenticeship, I would say he was taught them, because he is a member if our local air cadet squadron, but sadly not by his school who were only interested in getting pupils to uni

Do you think things were better when you were at school, have things improved?
I left school in 1987 and so overall employment prospects were better, however it was harder to find out about careers unless you knew people involved in them already. I was good at commerce and would have liked to have had a career in finance but had no idea where to start. I do think this is better now, it is far easer to find out about jobs and career paths.

What do you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
That work can be enjoyable, and you don't have to stay in the same job if you think you would prefer to do something different.

When I left school in 1989, we had all been taught how to touch-type, to sew a hem and to cook basic meals. These skills have stayed with me and been improved over the years and I will definitely be passing them on to both DD and DS.

Today young people would do well to present them in a professional manner, be well-spoken and courteous and to be good timers. Good spelling and grammar is essential. They would also do well to expect to have to work, to appreciate the value of money and to end this culture of entitlement and instant gratification. God I sound about 110!

GiraffesAndButterflies Thu 23-May-13 17:09:06

Barclays want to know from you:

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
I think they need to know how to evaluate their work. I can show someone where they need to improve but the most frustrating thing is when I return a draft email/report/letter/whatever and meet a 'sfine as it is innit?' attitude. Whether they're taught this- not formally, I don't think.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
Probably about the same since my day. I wasn't taught how to approach the world of work in terms of thinking about what my boss needed from my work and trying to fulfil/anticipate those needs. Mystifying really since it's what most of us go on to do all day every day!

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
That email can be informal. I was given an unbearably stiff and outdated idea of all office communications which it took me ages to unlearn. Different tones for different situations would have been a more useful lesson. Sometimes 'Cheers Jeff' really is all your email needs to say.

Kids should be encouraged to participate in activities that will enhance their CV, eg DOE, team sports, etc, all of which can also be used for competency based application forms.
Volunteering is good if the career you want involves a PVG/ Disclosure as this is a key feature in many jobs.
Learn to drive if you don't live in a city. Public transport is no use if the job you want has unsocial hours.
Familiarity with online job search sites, e.g. Indeed.co.uk
Punctuality, reliability and enthusiasm go a long way with employers.
Research your chosen field and make sure the subjects you choose are the ones you need. For most apprenticeships you will need maths, English and decent IT skills.
Make sure your CV is as good as it can be and have different ones for all your job options. A cv for a part time bar job should not be the same as one for a joinery apprenticeship.
Any kind of paid work is great experience and you will need references.
Formal clothing for interviews is a must, jeans and a hoodie are never acceptable.
Pay close attention to what you put on FB, etc. Pics of you on FB looking bladdered, etc. will be seen by potential employers.
Your email address says a lot about you so no sexy bitch@hotpants.com or mufcforevah@footiefanatic.co.uk
Make sure the contact telephone number you give is hooked to an answer phone or voicemail. Employers will not try to contact you for interviews more than twice.
No crazy hair colours, visible tatts or piercings, people can be extremely judgey about these wink

TiredFeet Thu 23-May-13 22:07:09

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

great I.T. skills, I think this is unavoidable now. but also, how to conduct themselves in the work place, how to dress, speak and act in a professional manner.

we have young people come for placements and I am surprised by how many seem totally uninterested and unenthusiastic about what they are doing. it may be basic admin they are giving but this is the building blocks for any office job. I have also been surprised to see c.v.'s with 'silly' email addresses given as the contact details, or scruffy clothes for work experience.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

I don't know about better, we didn't get much preparation for the world of work at all, bar a short bit of work experience. university, especially at post grad level, was great for some training in how to behave etc, and actually the most useful preparation were my first jobs, I guess people were prepared to gently coach me! I am also really pleased I had the opportunity to do a touch typing course when I was at school, I think this is a vital skill. I really hope it is taught in schools now.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work
I wish I had known how much the very non-glamorous first jobs would help me in my future career. they still go on my cv with pride as they taught me so much about customer service, team working etc. I think that I would have appreciated them even more at the time if I had understood how much they were teaching me and would help me get my more exciting future jobs.

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them? Initiative - no / money management - no / team work and communication - yes /

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved? Improved hugely in terms of careers guidance

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work? That you don't have to stick to the same thing forever. I wish I'd been told much more about options available.

daisybrown Thu 23-May-13 23:21:20

Glad to see we are getting back to apprenticeships. Too many youngsters tend to expect the world for not doing a great deal or working towards it.

DontMeanToBeRudeBut Fri 24-May-13 15:59:28

- Personal organisation, spelling and grammar, good work ethic and compartmentalising emotions. I think these are things that are encouraged by schools but with varying degrees of success.

- I left school nine years ago, so not long really. Even so, I do voluntary work with young people and I'm constantly amazed at how rude and lazy they are and how any problems always someone else's fault. Maybe I was just as bad as a teenager!

- I wish I had known that no one cares how much of a superstar you were at school, it means absolutely nothing in the real world.

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