From education to employment

Sixth former quizzes City boss on what students want from business

Lloyd's chairman Bruce-Carnegie-Brown and sixth form student Shenice Osisioma

A positive attitude, work experience and the right social media presence are key when it comes to getting a good job in business – according to a top City boss.

Sixth form student Shenice Osisioma quizzed Lloyd’s of London Chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown at a City education dinner on what firms are looking for when recruiting, and she told him what students want from business.

The Chairman of the London Insurance Market gave his advice to the next generation of workers as he was questioned by the aspiring law student on what employers are really looking for in today’s fast-paced business world.

Shenice, from the City of London Academy (Southwark), told the Lloyd’s chief that schools do not have enough understanding about business when it comes to knowing what young people need to do to appeal to firms and get a top job.

Speaking for her generation, Shenice said young people need more clarity from both schools and businesses on what work experience is available and how to get it. She said firms need to do more to show what qualifications they regard highly – and what they don’t – and which non-academic skills are really valued in the workplace.

Carnegie-Brown said changing methods of recruitment, including through social media, are now key for employers and an important platform for candidates to get right.

The exchange was held last night at the City of London Corporation’s Education Board Dinner. The City Corporation sponsors 10 academies across the capital and last year the Sutton Trust named it as the UK’s best academy sponsor for empowering pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds to perform above the national average.

Henry Colthurst, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Education Board, said:

“Schools and businesses need to have strong relationships so young people can enjoy the best opportunities for their future.

“This debate underlines the reason why schools and business need to understand each other better, and that if they can bridge that gap, then young people can benefit.

“Together we aim to make sure that young Londoners have access to the information, advice and experiences that will help them to progress into fulfilling careers.”

Bruce Carnegie-Brown, Lloyd’s Chairman, said:

“Social recruiting is now a “thing” when it comes to hiring candidates – three in 10 employers have someone who will review your online persona. Will you be proud of what they find?

“With more than half of employers (54 percent) finding content on social media that caused them not to hire a candidate, why take any chances? Pause before you post.

“It’s very common to receive hundreds of CVs that are nearly identical, so an internship or similar work experience is a great way of differentiating yourself from other applicants.

“Choose what you enjoy most. If you don’t enjoy it or don’t have any passion for it, you will reduce your chances of success.”

Shenice Osisioma, sixth form student at the City of London Academy (Southwark), added: 

“The stigma around alternatives to traditional forms of education needs to change.

“Business can give better examples of what alternative qualifications they will accept – and schools need to actively inform students of this at a younger age – not just when the time comes to actually make a decision.

“Numerous students have expressed concerns that the grades they were predicted would not be enough to make them appeal to businesses, but that they had no other skills or qualities to make up for this.

“There must be something else they can do to give them an advantage in appealing to businesses, but they have no clue what that is.”

The top tips to getting into business from a City boss to today’s youth:

    1. Get the right attitude to work: show initiative, work hard and go the extra mile. It will be noted and appreciated. Ask questions – you won’t be expected to know everything but by asking you show interest and willingness to learn.
    2. Adopt strong social media etiquette: Employers check social media profiles – and what a person chooses to display online publicly says a lot about them. Candidates should use social media as an opportunity to stand out in a positive way and showcase your personality. Update social media profiles with relevant skills, use multimedia to supplement your CV, and interact with business social media accounts.
    3. Get meaningful work experience: Make sure it’s relevant and serves your needs. Choose what you enjoy most, speak to people who are already in the positions you’re aspiring to and ask them how they got there. Write a killer application – do your research, don’t use a template and make it a showcase for your achievements and aspirations.

In 2018, the City of London Corporation was ranked as the second-top multi-academy sponsor in the UK for pupil progress by the Department for Education.

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