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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.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 13-Jun-13 11:08:31

Hi - thanks for all the comments. Am pleased to say CMOTDibbler has been selected as the winner of the £200 JL voucher. Well done!

IvySquirrel Wed 12-Jun-13 20:35:54

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?

Excellent literacy & numeracy, punctuality, a pro-active attitude and a big smile!

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

I think some things are better, some are worse. Young people now have more confidence and more experience of teamworking. However their spelling can be terrible!

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
The importance of positivity and smiling.

Catiinthehat Wed 12-Jun-13 13:37:49

~ 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?

More confidence and how to approach interviews. More opportunities to present and more opportunities for independent thinking.

Many schools are doing well in my opinion however, it is important to ensure students do as well as they can academically so they do have the tools required and learn to stretch their minds and have the determination to achieve and work hard.

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

I think academically things do improve year on year as schools progress. In terms of respect and discipline, I think many times there is too much emphasis on the school- of course they have a responsibility but it also requires parents to be involved with their children AND the school. Schools and parents need to work together. A school can be as strict as they like but if there are parents who disagree with the discipline and don't discipline their own children then whatever the school does is futile.

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

How to get more work experience

rosie17 Tue 11-Jun-13 09:42:40

Here are some of the most basic skills/qualities I think a young person needs to enter the workplace

-punctuality

-politeness

-honesty

-the ability to show at least enthusiasm if not passion for the product, service etc

- the ability to research the field before hand

- A developed good telephone manner

- Obviously great computer skills are a must these days - and some employers are esp interested in young people who know their way around social media for business promotion purposes

-good basic communication skills ie don't mumble give good eye contact and the willingness to smile every now and again!

domesticslattern Mon 10-Jun-13 21:52:52

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 interview young people on occasion and am constantly amazed by the massive clutch of qualifications yet them lacking very social skills. It's just not on to go to sleep in meetings (very visibly!); to sit silently throughout a 1 hour meeting because you can't find a way to contribute, even when invited; go all shy and chew your hair when asked your opinion; rock up to a fairly formal office in dirty jeans and sandals; answer the phone "Yeah?". And most of all, it's not on to look so totally bored by the whole process of having to interview or work at all! It's just about a grown-up attitude to the whole thing. There are plenty of great young people who are exceptions of course- and I always look for enthusiasm and a willingness to learn- most other things can be taught.

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

I don't think things were much better then TBH. I think people in their late teens and early twenties often find it hard to disguise their real feelings/ fit into a different kind of everyday culture/ pretend to love things you hate/ wear things that "aren't your style" etc., and of course in the workplace that is what you need to do! It's the nature of the beast.

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

Always be nice and professional and friendly and enthusiastic to every single person you meet. Never ever think a person or a task is below you. That cleaner or receptionist or very boring man from accounts - or the knowledge that you gained from that tedious admin task- might just save your career one day. It's why Chief Execs learn so much when they go back to the coalface.

littlemonkeychops Mon 10-Jun-13 20:11:55

Skills that are needed are things like communication skills, confidence, ability to think on your feet, and common sense. I do also agree a bit with posters above who have talked about some young people having a sense of entitlement, so it's good for people to be taught to appreciate that nothing is free and there's no replacement for hard work (though that is probably something parents teach not schools etc).

gazzalw Mon 10-Jun-13 17:59:19

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?

The work marketplace is a competitive place whether you try to get a job straight from school or after Uni. So the basics which show a diligent, committed, loyal and keen approach to the workplace: good time-keeping, a respect for one's colleagues: peers and senior staff, a willingness to learn and to go the extra mile when required. Excellent IT and Social Media skills but good, coherent and grammatically correct English and reasonable basic maths skills too.

No, sadly I somehow feel that school-leavers have fewer of the required skills than when we were their ages.

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

I think school-children are a lot more street-wise and savvy than we were at the same age. But not sure those skills necessarily translate well into employability

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

To make the most of pre-work life and enjoy it to the hilt. That if you aren't happy in one line of work, it's better not to stick it out but find/get transferable skills and volunteer if it helps you move onto your preferred career pathway.

pithy Mon 10-Jun-13 15:39:04

Good time keeping, reliability, how to network: not just socially, but across a range of media. Good interpersonal skills - not having an arrogant attitude. Good conversational English and grammar, with other languages if possible. Show drive and that you've thought about appearance/presentation.
Things were much better when I was at school. Stress from global competition virtually unheard of. The basics:how to structure a letter, maths, history, science - all taught to a higher standard it seems. But workplaces were often more formal then with a rigid hierarchy.
Wished I'd known more about workplace politics. It's often who you know socialise with after work pub/golf that gets the promotion, as well as the obvious job skills.
The advice I'd give would be to find out about people's backgrounds in the workplace before confiding in anybody. You might find yourself giving an opinion of the boss to the boss's nephew/girlfriend. Learn to discern how much opinion to give your colleagues. Too much, and the chances are that one of them will shaft you to gain advancement. Too little, and you will be excluded from the group for being a kiss arse. Save major gripes for people you trust like best friend/DH.
Don't be afraid to contact the union rep/ seek outside advice, if you feel you are being badly treated. It is better to do this early. But remember that employment legislation is now heavily weighted in favour of the employer and HR is not always impartial. Employment tribunals are not like criminal courts. Employers do not have to prove guilt. You will be judged on a balance of probabilities. So take notes and act early if you think you may be in serious trouble!

junebeetle Thu 06-Jun-13 12:53:44

Skills needed: good time management, good and appropriate communication skills and common sense.

Things probably have improved a bit, but the workplace is probably even more competitive now.

Appearing confident is vital!

Millais Tue 04-Jun-13 19:13:52

~ 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?

*Time keeping, self management- following a schedule and sticking to it- learning to plan and prioritise. People skills, listening and empathising. Being able to accept direction and to think before speaking- knowing when to stay quiet!

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved? It is very much dependent on the school. My dss' school is very good at these but dd's not so much. Young people today have been brought up to be very much equal to everyone. Some have difficulty in working out the "pecking order" which can sometimes be good and challenging old ideas but can also be seen as rudeness and a lack of respect.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work? Chase the dream! Work is such a huge part of your life so make sure you are happy in whatever you choose and if you have doubts it is ok to change career!

Theimpossiblegirl Mon 03-Jun-13 09:51:39

To add, I will be sharing this with a friend who is headteacher at a secondary school for children with SEN. I already told her about the Pizza Express kitchen days and she is always looking for things like this.

Theimpossiblegirl Mon 03-Jun-13 09:49:53

~ 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 budget, time management, acceptable workplace behaviour, basic English, maths and computing skills.
I don't think the first three are particularly covered by schools, I hope to goodness the other three are.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
I remember having one careers lesson. I was told I would make a good civil servant. I was 14 and didn't have a clue what that meant. I also had a 2 week work experience in the office of a building firm that I enjoyed but mainly because it was time off school.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
The holidays are not the same (even if you go into teaching). Life is so easy before you have to work so enjoy it, travel, have fun, do things you may regret not doing in later life.

TheFlipsideOfTheCoin Thu 30-May-13 13:14:48

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?
Dedication to a job. No phoning in sick all the time because you can't be bothered. This is taught, to an extent, by the school system as there are punishments for lateness, etc. At college level, however, it is very easy for kids to just skive off!

Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
I only left school 4 years ago so I don't really think things have changed that much.

And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
There's not really much help. No teachers to cry to when you think you'll miss a deadline. You either miss the deadline or risk losing your job. The workplace is far less lenient.

JS06 Wed 29-May-13 16:34:27

For information I've passed the link in last week about LifeSkills to our local senior school in Lincolnshire and to a specialist team from the local authority who deal specifically with senior school students who have language/communication difficulties.

JS06 Wed 29-May-13 16:33:15

Skills Needed Today

How to arrive anywhere on time
How to talk about yourself confidently
How to initiate a conversation
How to say thanks
How to say you're not happy with a service or product
Where to go for help with consumer rights
Why do we need solicitors/bankers/software engineers in world of work
How to exploit technology for your purposes - ie dyslexic son is forging ahead (only now, age 16 - groan) with voice activated software and it's helping him feel normal and part of the crowd
What do do if you see something untoward - an accident/bullying/negligence/ when to speak up and when not to.
Responsibilities at work - you have rights but you are responsible now too and need to act accordingly.

I don't think that I've observed my 16 year old being exposed to this range of learning whilst at school. I accept the school curriculum probably can't squeeze it in in it's current form but there are some initiatives in schools which start to address them.

I do think there are missed opportunities though and plenty of immersion points which could be exploited. Not by teachers, they're wrung out, but what about using school premises during evenings for workshops for teens, some simple but interesting holiday classes, some Saturday workshops for say 6 weeks on 'being the newbie' at work - what to expect, how to succeed.

Own son, 16, in middle of GCSEs, dismissed from school at half term this week and only expected to go in to complete remaining exams. I wasn't aware this was coming up and was unprepared but will utilise this 'golden' time for a whole half term. I am home based and can do it but not everyone has this capacity, I accept. It was while looking round the internet over the last week or so for things like visual clips to support me helping son that I came across LifeSkills from Barclays, it fitted the bill beautifully. I've passed it on to school as I consider that this is exactly the kind of material that schools are sorely missing. A great big working organisation doing some of the background material/slick presentation is ideal.

Were things any better when I was at school

While I was at school things weren't any better but it was a different world back then when I was 16 (now 51) - no mobiles, no technology like we have now, different cultures, different expectations. I think we're light years away from the days when I was at school.

What I wish I'd known when starting out

I wish I'd known when I was starting out in the world of work that it's absolutely fine to change career direction. Doing what you've always done for the whole of your working life does not have to limit you now. The world truly is the oyster of any young person starting out.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 28-May-13 14:01:30

Some of you asked about Barclays taking this into schools - sorry for the delay in coming back but Barclays say "Absolutely, we have been engaging with schools across the country for some time and encouraging them to get registered. The LifeSkills site is designed to support schools and teachers and we are continuing with our communication and engagement with schools."

MrsAVB Tue 28-May-13 11:12:27

~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?

A sense of ownership and responsibility for planning for your future; not just the big things like getting a job, but the small intermediate steps to get there - eg. I struggle with early starts/ speaking on the phone etc. - setting small goals to tackle this - eg. I will phone x once a week rather than text. I think a lot of the tools for YPs focus on the big things and the fixes, rather than encouraging self-ownership and thought through goal setting and reflection.

I think with this comes a sense of perspective. YP I've worked with have often been in two camps; either not expecting to work at all, or expecting to be "discovered" as a pop star/ footballer and I think those working with YPs around their futures should use tools which encourage realistic discussion around this rather than dismiss either perspective. Eg. Looking at JDs, "journeys" of both successful people, and those maybe 5 years ahead of themselves.

Back to basics stuff. Some YPs who I have had on work experience have been top students in top schools and been able to eg. design a website from scratch, but have not been able to: put a stamp in the right corner of an envelope, understand why they can't use their iPod or pop out to the shops whenever they want, make a cup of coffee, answer the phone, speak to members of the public, take notes during a meeting, sweep a floor, empty a dishwasher etc.

I think it's patchy as to whether YPs are being taught these things and I think much of it is at the door of parents and employers/ placement providers as well as schools. I think any programme working in this way should have an element that speaks to parents, as so many of the attitudes/ basic things above are things that can be supported at home. I think employers/ placement providers need support to to ensure that the opportunities they provide are meaningful and not "made up jobs" supervised by someone who resents having someone on work experience and doesn't give effective feedback. I believe work experience is far more effective than classroom learning about work, and that it should be a start (eg. application/ interview) to finish process. I think provision of work experience is patchy too, and choice is often limited, especially for those who are disabled/ "hard to place", and most YPs only get one placement, meaning that some of the perspective stuff above isn't gained, especially if the placement provider isn't up to scratch.

I think skills need to be taught earlier too and that it's never too early to start thinking about careers; even nursery aged children are starting to think "I want to be a ballet dancer" etc, so starting early with the basic stuff like teamwork means its more ingrained and transferable later on.

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

I think some things are better and some things are worse. The Internet provides lots of opportunities to find out about different kinds of jobs and opportunities. I remember at school, doing a careers quiz, with questions like "would you rather be a dancer or a dustman" - which I would rather be has very little relevance to which I'd be able to do.

I think the things that are worse are that there seems to be more emphasis on academic achievement, both for schools and individuals, which means that those who excel practically can be demoralised through not being given equal opportunites to show they excel. And I think general celebrity culture etc means that some YPs think its easy to be successful and have a sense of expectation.

~ 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 success doesn't = academic achievement. Being clever isn't the be all and end all. I remember a-level results feeling like they were an incredibly pivotal moment, when actually the skills that have led to a happy and successful career aren't related to grades at school or uni. Friends who were multiple a* graders and Oxbridge graduates are not any further ahead in their careers, earning more, or happier than friends who failed all their a levels. Success and happiness relates to you as a person, your motivation, and your circumstances.

Sorry for the long post!

daimbardiva Mon 27-May-13 23:00:27

~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?

Communication skills are absolutely key, budgeting is another important one.

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

I think things have probably improved. All the emphasis was on getting to university when I was at school - work was rarely mentioned.

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

Having a degree is not the be all and end all!

cluttered Mon 27-May-13 21:19:35

~ 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?
Time-keeping, the ability to get on with people of different ages and from different backgrounds, good IT skills, good communication skills including the ability to speak and write English correctly. Some schools do teach this but there seem to be a lot of young people who can't write correct English, not helped by too much text speak
~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
I didn't ever have any careers advice, I was expected to go to university which I did but no one ever asked me what I wanted to do afterwards and how my degree choice would lead to that. I stumbled into a career which I am still in but would have chosen something else if I had thought more about what I wanted from life. So careers advice is definitely better now but I did receive a better grounding in grammar than many young people seem to have today
~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
Considering how much of your life is spent at work it is really important to choose a career based on something that interests you and also to consider what you may want in the future e.g. lots of work-related travel may seem great when you are young but your feelings may change when you have a family, having flexibility to work at home or flexible hours can make a huge difference when you have a family and some jobs are more portable than others i.e. some specialist jobs are restricted to fairly large cities, others can be done online and it doesn't matter where you are physically. I wish I had made conscious choices based on my long term dreams and not just drifted into the first career that seemed suitable. Having said that, it is possible to retrain for a completely different career if you want to enough but it is easier to get it right the first time.

RubySparks Mon 27-May-13 21:00:51

Skills - communication, how to write well and speak well, be polite,and friendly. How to be confident without being arrogant. The ability to learn new things is the most useful thing in any job.

Changes - I was looking for my first job in the early 80s and was absolutely clueless. School had been all about exams and nothing about working with other people. I ended up in a temp job working with someone who encouraged me to apply to uni to qualify, my family had no experience of uni and did not know anything about it so I think a mentor can be a key aspect in changing the outcome for some young people.

Knowledge - I wish I had thought about what subjects to choose in early secondary school and what careers that would allow me to apply for. Also what kind of income I was looking to earn. Having said that when I left school I had never used a computer, when I left uni I has a knack for the, and that led me into IT, an industry that barely existed when I was at school! So I think flexibility and being able to switch careers is needed now, our children will end up in careers that haven't been invented yet!

whosiwhatsit Mon 27-May-13 18:01:16

~ 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?

CV writing skills and interview skills. Practical skills such as maths, statistics, spreadsheets, and technical writing if they want a well-paid office job. Otherwise solid training in a trade such as electrician or plumber. I think, and its really sad to say, that only kids with rich parents can afford to study things like art and literature anymore. It's very unfortunate but young people today who need to be financially independent need to look at the types of careers where new people are in demand and focus on studying those. This is actually a very sad but practical truth for most.

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

I think things were better just because the economy was better. It's no sense blaming young people now for being unemployed when there are so many experienced professionals unable to find jobs. Now young people need to do whatever it takes to get on a stable track and I thnk that's much more difficult than it was for my generation.

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

I wish I had known that just about any entry level job can lead to something better if you focus and work really hard at it. Also I wish I had known what an engineer was and why that would be a good subject to study at university. And I wish I had known what I was capable of - in particular that I could do maths and science even though I'm a woman and women supposedly aren't capable of studying those things.

KenDoddsDadsDog Mon 27-May-13 16:55:46

- That if you take a job you should value it. I see little evidence that people are prepared for basic disciplines such as timekeeping, keeping your phone off, being able to speak to people politely. I do think schools should endeavour to show that it's possible to progress from a starter job or apprenticeship if you have the desire and discipline.
- I left school over 20 years ago , my careers teaching was ropey but our conduct was carefully managed.
- That it's not always the popular kids that succeed!

VerlaineChasedRimbauds Mon 27-May-13 12:52:49

Just wanted to add: when applying for jobs - a sniper approach is better than a scatter gun. Patience and resilience (again) are needed. The problem here is that the sniper approach needs very specific and tailored support - so will be much more difficult to teach. General hints and tips are all very well, but different jobs need different approaches.

VerlaineChasedRimbauds Mon 27-May-13 12:48:41

What skills?
Communication:
Writing or speaking well doesn't mean using long words.
Poor spelling will be noted and matters more in the world of work than it seems to do in school.
Learning to pretend (convincingly) that you have respect for someone, even if you don't. You might get away with sarcasm in school but it will do you no favours when you start work.
Learning that imaginative excuses won't be much use at work.
Learning that the criticism you may face when you are mastering new things at work may not always be fair or constructive. I think that many schools do an excellent job in giving fair and constructive criticism to help students to learn. It can come as a bit of a shock to find that employment isn't always very fair.
In summary, I think students may need to learn resilience - and I'm not convinced schools teach this. Role play might be useful for this.

First Aid. Definitely. I really don't know why this isn't on every school curriculum - it's the obvious place to teach it.

Money, Tax, Time-keeping.

Just how much variety there is in the world of work. So many different jobs that most people have no idea about.

Learning to think laterally and imaginatively. It can help you to get work, to stay in work or to change jobs and can help keep you sane.

Better or worse when I was at school?
Worse, I think. I wasn't aware of any advice for the world of work. Most students were expected to go on to University - not in to work. There was very little advice about HOW to apply for jobs at University. I cringe now to think about some of the letters I wrote to potential employers.

What do I wish I had known?
That no choice is for ever. You can change tack, so you don't have to get it right first time.

zipzap Sun 26-May-13 23:29:50

~ 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?
- A sense of professionalism - pride in their job, doing things properly, treating others with respect,
- The need to just get on with things and the fact that you will need to work. hard probably. Can't just ignore a task and hope it will go away, like a piece of homework you can't be bothered to do.
- Time keeping, writing skills, basic maths skills. cv writing and interviewing skills. Listening skills.
- The need to research the job you are applying for before you start - yes you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. But if you are just leaving school or uni then you will be going for a junior position and up against a lot of competition so not really in a position to be making a lot of demands.

But then there are also things that will help them to manage their life better which in turn will affect their work, so things like:
- Money management: understanding their pay cheque, tax deductions etc, pensions, loans, mortgages, budgeting and so on (all the sort of things that Martin Lewis is championing being taught at school through MoneySavingExpert)
- First Aid - Just think that everybody should know the basics of first aid when they leave school - whether it is to help somebody that collapses at work or in the street, the world would be much better if they knew first aid. I think it would also help to provide everybody with more of a sense of community spirit - if there was an emergency they would know how to help - and I think that knowledge is actually very empowering
- Healthy living - how to cook decent food for themselves, the basics of food and nutrition, and exercise... Bit basic but if people are able to cook basic decent food for themselves and understand why it is good (both from financial and health point of views), then chances are they are likely to be in better health which has to be good if you are employing them. I would be very worried about somebody's lack of good sense if they thought that eating out or grabbing a take away every day was a good idea. There may be a few workplaces that provide a great canteen where you can eat well and more cheaply than you can cook for yourself, which is a bit different. But where there isn't then it is worrying the number of people that seem to buy a sandwich for lunch and then buy a pizza or grab a burger on the way home. Fine for an occasional mad day - not when it becomes the norm.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
When I was at school, everyone was expected to go to university so not much time was expended on work skills, they were something we were expected to pick up at uni. I hope that things have improved since then but have young dc so not in a position to know currently.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
That there are lots of jobs out there that you, your teacher or your parents will never have heard of but that doesn't necessarily mean it's not worth investigating. Quite the reverse - might be others that haven't heard of it either so aren't applying and therefore less competition for you.

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