Mock interviews put students on the road to college and work

Dan Mounsey with Christine Dempster

Year 10 students at Saddleworth School have taken their first step towards the world of college and work with mock interviews by representatives from several leading employers.

This year’s interviews took place face-to-face over two days at the school’s new building in Diggle following last year’s remote exercise brought about by the pandemic.

Among the 35 volunteer interviewers was HPP’s Marketing and Business Development Director Dan Mounsey – a former Saddleworth School pupil.

He says: “Whatever the students decide on in the future they will probably be invited to interviews. So, mock interviews held now will help them prepare for real interviews in future, boosting their confidence, skills and presentation.

“I did six interviews on the day. I thought all the students were good, there was a mix, some were more confident than others, but after going through the pandemic it was the first time they had found themselves in a situation like that. It was a well worthwhile exercise.”

Joining Dan to do the interviewing were parents and governors from school. Other businesses and organisations represented ranged from public bodies such as the NHS, police, army, Oldham Council and the BBC. The private sector was represented by companies from the construction industries, accountants (KPMG) and recruitment (Adecco) to name just a few.

The mock interview days are organised by Christine Dempster, Business and Careers Lead at the school. She says: “The opportunity to take part in a mock interview with someone from the world of work and industry is a fantastic opportunity for our students to build their communication skills and confidence, whilst allowing them to develop their experience of an interview.

“Congratulations to all the Year 10 students who took part. For most students this was their very first interview, and quite a daunting experience.

“They did the school proud with their mature and confident attitude throughout. The experience will have given many the confidence they needed to realise they ‘can do this’. For many, their next interview will be their college interview in Year 11. I am certain they will be fantastic.”

Dan adds: “What came across was that many of the students are at the very start of thinking about their future and what they want to do. The students I interviewed had good interests and stories to tell, but in terms of career ambitions they are very much at the start of that journey.

“However, there was one young lady who has already decided she wants to teach disabled children. She had a plan of what she is going to do to achieve that – it is an admirable ambition and very good to see.”

HPP serves the national kitchen and bedroom fitting industry. It has over 2,000 trade customers, including installers and showrooms, and supplies over 6,000 products including its own brands of doors and cabinet components. It has its HQ in Oldham and a second UK distribution centre in Sheffield.

The company has a strong reputation for providing job opportunities for younger people, ranging from workers first employed on government job creation schemes, as well as nurturing apprentices.

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