Esh Border Construction hosts mock interview day for school pupils

A pupil from Broxburn Academy being interviewed
A pupil from Broxburn Academy being interviewed

Youngsters from several Scottish schools took part in a mock interview event, giving them valuable employability skills for their future careers.

The S4, S5 and S6 pupils attended the day as part of their participation in Esh Border Construction’s award-winning employability skills programme, Building My Skills.

The initiative – which has been operating in the North of England for more than five years – launched in Scotland this academic year and so far six schools from five local authority areas have signed up.

The programme involves organisations who have partnered with Esh Border Construction, part of Esh Group, attending schools to provide interactive presentations with career, sector and employment advice.

These include online appearance– including how to behave on social media – workplace conduct, tips on putting together an effective CV and covering letter, as well as presenting yourself well at interview.

The event was held at the Macdonald Houston House hotel near Livingston
The event was held at the Macdonald Houston House hotel near Livingston

So far, accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers, consulting engineers Peter Brett Associates, Peace Recruitment, Beattie, The Creative Communications Group, Brodies Solicitors and The Army have all contributed.

They have been involved in delivering in excess of 3,200 “learner hours” to youngsters in Central and Southern Scotland – with around 620 Scottish pupils taking part so far.

The schools are Preston Lodge High School in Prestonpans, Broxburn Academy, Maxwelltown High School in Dumfries, St Augustine’s and Forrester High Schools in Edinburgh, and Galashiels Academy in the Borders.

Gavin Clark, Headteacher at Preston Lodge High School, said: “The sessions have been really helpful, and have been a real eye-opener to our students on the realities of work, and what actually matters.

“The students have really enjoyed them, and I think, most importantly, the sessions are excellent preparation for the world of work. These sessions are also great continuous personal development for staff around what seriously counts in the workplace.”

Nicola Reynolds, Principal teacher of Pupil Support at Maxwelltown High School, said: “Maxwelltown High School has been very pleased to be involved in the ESH programme this session. The involvement of employers from a variety of careers has been interesting for the senior pupils.

“The presentations from the guest speakers have given the pupils lots to think about. One major point of discussion was the on-line appearance presentation. It was great to hear employers saying that on-line appearance is very important; pupils do not believe this when they hear it from their teachers.

“It has been a very encouraging year and the school is looking forward to develop and build on the good relationship we have with the ESH group. It has been thoroughly worthwhile.”

The pupils from Forresters High School with John Moore from Esh Border Construction
The pupils from Forresters High School with John Moore from Esh Border Construction

Simon Phillips, managing director, Esh Border Construction, added: “We really shouldn’t underestimate how much of a change leaving the relatively cosy confines of academia to start a full-time career can be.

“Employability initiatives which connect businesses with pupils are an absolutely vital tool in helping youngsters to bridge the gap between the classroom and employment.

“The primary aim of the Building My Skills programme is to equip young people with the employability skills they need to develop successful careers, getting the advice first-hand from employers.

“The pupils have benefitted from invaluable insights from working professionals on their career path, sector and the skills they truly value.

“As a business, it is hugely rewarding to work with young people to inspire their career choices and help them into the workplace.

“The collaborative effort of many different companies across the initiative helps pupils access a wide variety of skills.”

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