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Employability session reflection – Year 13 Ark student

16 Mar 2021

In February, my team – Packaged Based Solutions – kicked off our Ark Employability programme. We have nearly 80 students who will be working with us and the Ark Schools Group over the next few months. We’re covering topics to help them be more prepared for finding the right post year13 route, one of our students shared her thoughts on our Strengths session. Thank you to Laila from Ark for sharing her reflections so far.

By Laila, Year 13 Ark student

A few weeks ago, I attended the online employability session, organised by the Ark network, and hosted by Capgemini. I had found this session exceptionally useful as I learnt more about myself and what recruiters are looking for. As a student working towards an apprenticeship, understanding my strengths has definitively boosted my self-confidence and belief during an application process.

In this session, Lauren, a Strengths Profile Consultant at Cappfinity, explained how to identify your strengths and use them. She divided them into realised strengths, which we use often and enjoy, and unrealised strengths, which we seldom use but are equally as energised by. Prior to the session we had filled out a questionnaire which formed a personal Strengths Profile. I came to understand my different strengths, for instance, that one of my unrealised strengths was ‘writer’. This summarises my love of writing and conveying ideas in print. As this is a strength I don’t often use, I started to consider how to unlock its potential.

During the session we had also gone over our weaknesses and see where which strengths we can use to compensate. I have also begun to work on my weaknesses to improve on my narrative skills, which was one of my weaknesses. Furthermore, understanding my weaknesses has helped me target my apprenticeship search to careers which I may not have to use my weaknesses and are heavily dependant on my strengths.

In an earlier Capgemini event, there were many current apprentices.  The session really cleared up any misconceptions I had about apprenticeships, allowing me to know what I can gain from an apprenticeship. This had certainly piqued my interest in apprenticeships further, as there was a symmetry of information. I had really enjoyed this session as it was very engaging, we were able to ask the apprentices questions and gain insight on how it feels to be an apprentice and what to expect. My favourite part of the session was unquestionably the Kahoot quiz we played. A little competition between us all definitely made the session exciting.  Simultaneously, I learnt a lot more about the benefits of an apprenticeship.

Moreover, I appreciated the advice we received from Lauren and Michelle, who is the director of future talent initiatives. They were truly amazing throughout the session, as informed us of what recruiters expect from you during an interview. It was reassuring to know that recruiters are focusing on your strengths rather than weaknesses and to be yourself and authentic during an interview.

This session has significantly helped me understand my strengths and how I can further grow to differentiate myself from other applicants. I have truly gained more awareness as the session had taught me to focus on aspects of myself which I wasn’t mindful of, such as my unrecognised strengths. This valuable experience with Capgemini has helped me begin building myself professionally and preparing me for an apprenticeship in the near future.