A BUDDING medic and an aspiring teacher were given a taste of the ‘real’ world as Derby business leaders took part in mock interviews with Year 11 students at Murray Park Community School.

The interviews were organised by the school’s Tim Taylor and Enterprise4Education (E4E); a not-for-profit organisation led by Derby City Council which helps young people raise their career aspirations.

The scheme also covers parts of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, delivering activities such as CV workshops, mock interviews and Enterprise Challenge Days which are designed to improve the employability skills of pupils in the city’s secondary schools.

All Year 11 students at Murray Park, in Mickleover, were given the opportunity to participate during their final year at secondary school. And, for the first time in almost 12 months, they were done ‘in person’ over two days rather than virtually.

Each interviewer asked the pupils questions about their ambitions and aspirations post-16, such as ‘what skills and qualities do you think employer’s value and why?’ The students, who had prepared for the interview beforehand, were then scored on their answers.

Arshad Iqbal E4E manager, said: “We have been so impressed with the students who have taken part in these interviews. They were confident, polite, articulate and it was great to have the interviews take place ‘in person’ this year, rather than virtually.

“The mock interviews provide such a valuable experience for the students and our thanks must also go to the volunteers who took part and gave such valuable feedback on the event.

“It has been a challenging couple of years for everyone and I’m proud that, throughout the lockdowns, we have still been able to hold this event.”

Kul Mahay, of Ignite Your Inner Potential; one of the businesses that took part in the interviews, said: “Creating leaders of the future is a real passion of mine and I was delighted to join the E4E team of volunteers for the first time.

“To see the young adults grow in confidence throughout the process was just fantastic but to hear their ambitions and dreams was priceless. It was also wonderful to meet all of the other extraordinary volunteers from the local business community in Derby, who gave up their time to invest in the future of these young people.

“All of the students were impeccably dressed and spoke articulately. I’m looking forward to seeing where their career paths take them over the next few years.”

Murray Park have been involved with E4E for several years now and, last year, they were named runners-up at the inaugural awards evening. The award recognises secondary schools which have prepared young people for the world of work through E4E and other employer engagement activities.

Tim Taylor, careers lead at Murray Park, added: “We have an extensive careers programme across the whole school with engagement with an extensive range of businesses and local employers, including the Royal Derby Hospital, the British Army, Toyota and Rolls-Royce.

“Working together with employers enables us to stay updated with the labour market and, ultimately, to support us in providing students with the chance to experience high quality enterprise activities and employability skills.

“It also helps with communication skills and instils confidence; two traits which have been hindered over the past 18 months as we have had to adjust to remote learning.”

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