longdeanOne hundred and thirty five Year 10 pupils from Longdean School in Hemel Hempstead took part in an Employability Skills day on Thursday 8th May organised and run by Connect Dacorum.  The pupils were in groups of 9 and each group had one or two facilitators from local businesses who had given up their morning to help the children with CV writing and interview skills.

All students were in the hall which instantly created a buzz. The event was interactive for the pupils – interviewing their facilitators, putting themselves in the mind of an employer looking at CVs for a new trainee graphic designer and critiquing them before moving on to looking in more detail at their own CVs and giving advice.  The second session concentrated on interview skills with mock interviews and also a fun “speed interviewing” game. The pupils came away with lot of helpful feedback and advice directly from employers about what they look for in a CV, covering letter and throughout the interview process.

Cindy Withey, Manager of Connect Dacorum praised the pupils and facilitators for a great day “when I approached Longdean School about running this event and whether they would be keen for business people to come in and facilitate, they didn’t hesitate  and it was fantastic to see the plans put into practise”.

The pupils also completed a feedback sheet at the end of the day with 95% of them saying that it was really helpful.  One wrote “I will always prepare for an interview and think about what employers are looking for”.  Another said “This has really helped me.  There is more to coming into an interview with a good CV”.

The facilitators came from a wide variety of backgrounds and businesses, all willing to give up their time to help shape the future generation and pass on valuable advice.  Naomi Woodstock from Haven Holidays said “A great initiative by Connect Dacorum and it was great to be involved in helping the next generation of workers now have a better chance at getting to interview stage. Hopefully some of whom may well be applying to work here at Haven holidays in the future.

From my perspective I found it very rewarding, it was great to be able to feedback the benefit of doing voluntary work  such as walking an old ladies dog and helping her with her shopping which then enables her to put on her CV that she is caring and empathetic”. 

While Simon Stillman from Transition Coaching said "A definite buzz of excitement in the room and positive attitude towards learning key employability skills. Wish I had access to this when I was at school! A great day.”

Angela Cook, head of careers education at Longdean School was so pleased with the event that she would now like to run the same thing with the rest of the Year 10’s in July and hope that it is something that could be done every year.  If there are any businesses who would like their staff to be involved and become a facilitator for these events in future please contact Cindy Withey at Connect Dacorum on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.