HH5 smallOne Hundred and Eighty Year 10 pupils from Hemel Hempstead School took part in an Employability Skills event on Monday 29th and Tuesday 30th June organised and run by Connect Dacorum.  The pupils were in groups of around 8, and each group had a facilitator 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 “this is the first time Connect Dacorum has organised this at Hemel Hempstead School having previously run it for the past couple of years at Longdean School and it is great to see how much both the pupils and facilitators get out of the experience”.

The pupils also completed a feedback sheet at the end of the day with all of them of them saying that it was really helpful.  One wrote “I have learnt how to speak and present myself during an interview or phone call and how to make a good CV”.  Another said “Interviews are hard and scary but I will apply what I have learnt to gain confidence”.

The facilitators came from a wide variety of backgrounds and businesses (full list see below), all willing to give up their time to help shape the future generation and pass on valuable advice. 

Richard McBarnet, Managing Director at Lumina Technologies said “I had the privilege of working with two groups [of children] over the two days and gaining a valuable insight into their aspirations and perceptions of the modern employment marketplace. It has been a genuine pleasure to be able to share what we, as employers, are looking for in school leavers and to be a part of giving them an increased chance of achieving their goals. Too often school leavers approach the job market woefully ill equipped to meet the expectations of prospective employers and it has always frustrated me when interviewing candidates how much better they could have performed if someone had just given them a  few simple do’s and don’ts.”

And Eli Tweed from the Community Partnerships team at Dacorum Borough Council also took part in the day. “It was a real pleasure to take part in the Employability days at Hemel Hempstead School. The students were very bright, engaged and switched on. They really improved their CV’s during the session, practiced interview techniques and identified their future goals.”

Ruth George, Ruth George HR Consulting – “What a well-behaved group of young people we all met yesterday.  Immaculately turned out (despite the heat!) polite and courteous and all engaging with the process and moving around the school in a respectful and professional way.  They are a credit to the school and their families.”

Jag Hir, Managing Director at Provident Wealth - “A wonderful opportunity to help guide the next generation of employees.”

Gordon Dickins, Tutor Doctor - “A real sense of engagement with the purpose of our workshop emerged from the two groups of young people that I had the pleasure of working with over the past couple of days. Open eyes and minds and a better understanding of how to approach their futures appeared to be the outcome, and 100% participation made for lively and I believe enjoyable sessions for all concerned!”

If there are any businesses who would like their staff to be involved and become a facilitator for these events next year please contact Cindy Withey at Connect Dacorum on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Alistair Budd – retired HR director

Amanda Winder – Strive Development

Bob Harbour – Governor at Hemel Hempstead School

Charlie Matthewson – Warner Bros Studios

Eli Tweed – Dacorum Borough Council

Gavin O’Donovan – Machins Solicitors

George Williams – Machins Solicitors

Gordon Dickens – The Tutor Doctor

Jag Hir – Provident Wealth

Julie Hopping – Careers Coach

Luca Ramusino – BAM Construct

Karen Gosen – Gaddesden Place Riding for the Disabled

Patrick Burke – Aid4Disabled

Richard McBarnet – Lumina Technologies

Ruth George – Ruth George HR Consulting

Sean Harrison – Machins Solicitors

Steve Coulam – Holiday Inn Hemel Hempstead

Tina Webb – National Rail

Zahra Lewis – Ashridge Management College