Students preparing for their final year at school have been given top tips on finding a job from a successful local businessman.
Paul Marsh, managing director of GSPK Design in Knaresborough, spoke to a group of Year 12 pupils at King James’s Schoolas part of a week that focused on their post-school employment and university options.
Mr Marsh said:
“For some pupils, university isn’t the right choice, so they also spend time looking at job applications.
“King James’s wanted to look at it from another angle – to show students what employers want.”
He explained that finding the right job was not always about applying for advertised posts and gave advice on ways to find potential employment, such as through networking, sending letters to company directors and giving the right first impression.
As well as running GSPK Design, an SME which specialises in electronic product development, Mr Marsh is chairman of the North Yorkshire board of Young Enterprise, the UK’s largest business and enterprise organisation which helps young people to learn more about the world of work through practical challenges and competitions.
He led a series of exercises looking at how companies find new employees, the competition students will face in the jobs market and how they could make themselves stand out from the crowd.
He emphasised that SMEs are responsible for employing a large proportion of the population so students should consider looking at smaller businesses – including those with just two or three employees – when they tried to find work.
The pupils were also encouraged to think about building up rounded interests and looking for jobs which related to something they were passionate about. By developing their hobbies, Mr Marsh said they would show their dedication and enthusiasm to a potential employer – and might even become entrepreneurs.
“I asked the pupils to write down some of their hobbies and to pass them around. Then we talked about how all of those different hobbies could be used to make money and how they could be turned into a career.”
Mrs Hazelton, the careers and alternative curriculum manager, said the pupils had enjoyed looking at the topic from a different perspective.
“This work was aimed at pupils at the end of Year 12, who will be leaving next summer.
“They need to start thinking about what they’re going to do and not leave it until this time next year.
“We’re always looking to build links with businesses in the area and it’s great that Paul, as an experienced employer, was able to give them relevant advice.”
Although careers advice has been cut back in schools around the country, King James’s School is still making it a priority in order to give pupils the best chance of finding a job they love in the future.
Mrs Hazelton added:
“There’s a lot of negative press about careers in school and students not being prepared for the world of work. We want to make sure our students are as ready as they can be for the tough jobs market, whether they’re going to university first or not.”