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Kevin at employability skills training at Suited For Success

Dan’s December Blog

I have been working with Kevin as part of our Employability skills service, here is his story:

We began the week with an all-day Employability Skills Training at the Signing Tree in Ladywood. The training focuses on developing young people’s interview skills as well as providing support and guidance on how to best structure answers to tough interview questions. Often is the case that the young people have all the necessary skills and experience for the job roles they apply for but often lack the self-belief and self-confidence to best present themselves in interviews.

This was the case with Kevin. He has a very strong CV with recent experience in software development and even has a maths degree! However, when it came to attending interviews his nerves would get the better of him and he would find it very difficult to verbalise all of the great skills he has accrued through his studies and work experience. His self-confidence was low and he struggled to maintain eye contact and present positive body language.

Throughout the activities on the Monday Kevin gradually came out of his shell and by the afternoon he wholeheartedly threw himself into the team building and communication-based challenges. During the afternoon’s activity on the S.T.A.R model (which is a method used to structure competency based interview questions) Kevin provided some fantastic answers and helped other attendees structure their answers.

Kevin carried this willingness to learn/engage into Suited for Success on Tuesday. Corporate volunteers from Wesleyan were on hand to act as interviewers in a speed interview format. They asked a wide array of questions – from predictable interview questions about the young people’s strengths / weaknesses to more left-field questions such as ‘if you were a biscuit, what biscuit would you be and why?’! The volunteers provided valuable feedback on the answers the young people gave and the atmosphere was very positive and the conversation was flowing between everyone – so much so the session ran over by 45 minutes!

When Kevin was dressed in the afternoon (in a very smart suit with a floral tie to match!) he said he had learnt so much in the last two days and although he felt nervous for his mock interview the next day at Balfour Beatty Vinci, he felt prepared too.

Along came Wednesday and Kevin’s interview at Balfour Beatty Vinci at 9am.  Kevin couldn’t have had a worse start to the day –  he got on the wrong bus, got soaked to the bone from torrential rain  (he arrived without a coat!) and even sat in chewing gum! He arrived 10 minutes late but he did not let this affect his determination. After the interview was over Kevin was called in for feedback from Matthew and Simon who gave him a run-down of their impression of him – they were very impressed with his answers, the employability skills demonstrated and they could tell he had prepared well. In fact, they were so impressed with Kevin they asked him if he would like to return for a real interview in early 2020 for the position of a data scientist on one of the Balfour Beatty Vinci’s teams working on HS2!

Kevin was thoroughly pleased with this achievement and I was very proud to see such a marked difference in his self-esteem and confidence from when I first met him on Monday! Kevin was sent the job description last week and with the support of his mentor Lincoln, is now in touch with the team at BBV who are arranging a date in January for his interview. Well done to Kevin and good luck for January – watch this space!