Apprenticeship students attend the Employability Conference
The Employability Conference 2019 took place with tremendous success. The conference is aimed at students who have decided they want to progress on to apprenticeships or employment after leaving college.
At Ashton Sixth Form College, students who have identified their progression route as non-university join an employability tutor group. Each week, their tutorial sessions, led by their Senior Tutor, will focus on developing specific skills aimed at ensuring students have access to opportunities to best prepare them for the futures, such as the Employability Conference.
The conference started with an introduction to the day from Principal Anton McGrath. The College Principal stressed the importance of the day and encouraged students to focus on making the most of every activity that had been prepared for them.
Sean Threlfall from Manchester Metropolitan University delivered a talk on degree apprenticeships, helping students to understand how they work and how to find them. He then led an application masterclass providing students with an overview of what they may experience when completing apprenticeship applications. He gave the students various tips on how to make their application stand out as well as an overview of what employers and universities are looking for.
After lunch, students broke off in to groups to allow them time to work more closely on their own skills. Students took part in a teamwork challenge led by Ernst & Young, developing their skills in communication, problem solving and creativity. Throughout apprenticeship application processes students may have to take part in assessment centres. Students may be tested in groups to allow employers to see how they work as part of a team. By completing a challenge with Ernst & Young, students were given the chance to think about how they may perform in similar scenarios and how to improve their performance.
One of the biggest elements of the Employability Conference was the 'Meet the Apprentice Panel'. Former students who are currently on apprenticeships or have completed their apprenticeships and are now employed by the companies that took them on, provided a unique insight in to the reality of apprenticeships. Apprentices from Tameside Council, Barclays, the NHS and CDL, spoke to the students about the various ways they found their apprenticeship and they were able to present their experience after leaving college. Employers were also present on the panel to answer students' questions about what employers are looking for and how to create the best application etc. The opportunities for Employability students to meet the professionals and the apprentices allowed them to ask about any concerns they may have or how to gain an edge over other students following similar routes.
The day ended with prizes being awarded to particular students who shone throughout the day. Similarly to how assessment centres will analyse performance throughout the day, college tutors were able to identify which students had made a significant contribution and made the most out of the conference.