Hartlepool students overcome nerves to shine in mock interviews by Middleton Grange shopping centre boss

Students with additional needs gained new confidence by undergoing nerveracking mock job interviews.

Sunday, 23rd June 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Sunday, 23rd June 2019, 6:00 pm

Catcote Academy pupils got to develop their job interview skills by taking part in a lifelike exercise with Middleton Grange shopping centre.

Centre manager Mark Rycraft, who is also an enterprise advisor for Catcote Academy, interviewed the students as if they were applying for the job of a retail assistant.

It was part of Catcote Academy’s STEPS study programme which focuses heavily on work experience and placements with businesses around the town.

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The aim of the programme is to develop the students’ skills including in employability, independent thinking and getting work ready, regardless of their learning disabilities or difficulties.

Amanda Metcalf, Catcote’s Employment Training Manager, said: “We aim to equip our students with the skills required for paid employment and to offer them as many opportunities as possible to experience work first hand within real and meaningful placements in the world of work.”

As part of the exercise the students were given a job description and had to produce a full CV and an application form, followed by the interview.

Mr Rycraft said all of the students, who all wore suitable smart clothes for their interviews, did really well, including when he went ‘off script’.

He said: “They found it extremely rewarding and it demonstrated whilst they were nervous they had prepared really well and they were very competent in that kind of situation and could hold themselves together very well.”

Ms Metcalf added: “These experiences are invaluable for our young people to raise aspirations and offer meaningful encounters which they can use to develop their skills and hopefully gain meaningful employment in the future.

“The STEPS students thoroughly enjoyed the experience, despite the nerves beforehand and were so proud of their ability to complete a full interview in a very real setting.

“As their teacher I can’t express loudly enough how well they did and how much their pride and confidence was increased through this invaluable experience.

“I would once again like to thank Mark Rycraft for his continued support of Catcote Academy and its employment initiatives, and of course a massive well done to the STEPS students!”