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Sheffield & South Yorkshire

We continue our journey around the country looking at what employers are seeking from potential employees and for the third interview look at the Sheffield area and South Yorkshire, talking to College Liaison officer Russell Dean at The Sheffield College

Big demand for skills

“Employers in our area have a high demand for carpentry and joinery skills,” says The Sheffield College’s Russell Dean. “We have every type of employer, from sole traders to major housebuilders and from sub-contractors to joinery firms, though currently we probably have slightly less demand for traditional joiners in our area.

“Personal interaction with potential employees is important: employers are looking for young people who are not frightened to chat, talk about themselves and their interests and above all, those who not afraid of asking questions. Presentation is another key factor when you go for an interview. Presenting yourself smartly and taking some examples of what you’re learning and your qualifications, all helps you to sell yourself to the potential employer.  t also helps to do some research before you go for an interview: find out what the company does and have a few real questions ready to ask them. That way you’re showing an interest in their business,” Russell Dean continues. 

Personal assets

“We find employers are looking for someone who is really hungry for the job – who really wants it and shows that at interview. They also look at school qualifications: Carpentry and Joinery careers involve a lot of different skills including Maths and English and the ability to communicate,” Russell Dean adds. “Young people often don’t realise that they have other assets to offer. If you’re a member of a football team, that demonstrates you can be a good ‘team player’ at work; if you run, box or practice a martial art or another individual sport it shows you’ve got the ability to be disciplined and focused; this can be transferred in your working life too. Don’t forget to mention these things at interview.

“At present we have a 50/50 split between apprentices and full-time students who then go to on to work for themselves or for local companies further down the line. We remind all our students that they’re not going to earn big money initially, not until they’ve proved themselves in the job for a while and that every day at college and at work contributes to building up that base of experience which will stand you in good stead for the future,” Russell Dean comments.

“It’s the same as building a house, if you haven’t got the correct foundations it doesn’t matter what you do above. I use this as an example when emphasising about learning: get the basics right, the rest will follow.”

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