On 18th July I attended a very successful, fun and action-packed BEE Career Ready event at Brentside High School in London.

The event`s aim was for students to meet employers from a wide range of industries so they know what study paths they need to take to gain entry into the represented professions. My part was to highlight the skills, qualifications, and attitudes required to secure a job.

The day started with tea and biscuits whilst going through the details and timing of the event so that all volunteers are fully prepared. The Human Bingo ice-breaker was used as a team building exercise to kick-off. This allowed for everyone to have some competitive and interactive fun, reinforcing that effective communication leads to success.

The first part of the day focused on a career speed dating exercise. There were 15 tables in the Student Hall with 7 – 8 excited students per table, employers rotated around the teams spending 10 minutes with each. This gave the friendly students the opportunity to “interview” the employers about their career and what they had to do in order to get into the field they work in. Fortunately I was equipped with visual materials to showcase what I do which engaged the students` interest. I also discussed my academic background at length. My fellow colleague Darren who specialises in SAP, emphasised how important it is to never stop learning. He gave examples of doing his Master`s degree, the books, classroom and online courses available to employees as well as on-the-job learning. He encouraged everyone to be “hungry for knowledge” since technology is changing daily and we need to embrace this. I touched upon the importance of good social skills, being personable and able to work with different people and virtual teams. We also discussed travel and working with clients worldwide, which is a key part of a consultant`s lifestyle. The positive energy of all the enthusiastic and curious students around me was contagious. Once the learnings from the first session were brought together, the BEE team advised on the allocated rooms for the interviews. As a result of meeting me and the other volunteers, the students got a taste of the world of work. Some of them were inspired by what we do at Capgemini and shared their aspirations to pursue a similar career path.

The second part of the day was dedicated to a simulation of an authentic interview experience. The pre-designed role the students were applying for was Management Trainee at a high street retailer. However, what stood out was their keen interest in Technology. For instance, some of them knew how to code. While I was interviewing one of the students, the remaining team-mates were sat behind, giving peer feedback on scoring sheets based on how they thought the interviewee performed. I spent around 12 minutes per interview. My questions were mainly role specific. Since the students kindly brought their CV and Cover Letters I also had the chance to ask them more tailored questions. I was impressed by their work experience at this young age. Taking into consideration the peer feedback I then had to score the candidates and complete their evaluation forms. It is important to note that I had to be fair in my evaluations and “give the job” to the most suitable and best performing candidate. When I announced who I would employ I had the chance to practise giving constructive feedback.

Lunch was organised for the employers at the student canteen where I managed to meet different company representatives as well as a former Capgemini employee. Apart from being a productive day in terms of employees` Giving Back and students boosting their employability skills, it was also great from a networking perspective. At the end we were asked to fill in feedback forms. This was followed by a motivational speech, final comments about the day and goodbyes. Knowing that Capgemini encourages employees to Give Back through the Schools Programme and various charitable initiatives really makes a difference in the workplace. For more information on Capgemini as an employer, please click here.

My name is Nikol and I work as an Applications Consultant in Organisational Change Management within the Business & Technology Solutions. BTS sits under the Application Services of Capgemini UK. I joined the business in July 2016 as part of the renowned UK Graduate Programme.

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