Over 20 leading North East businesses recently gathered at St James’ Park to deliver a unique twist on a traditional jobs fair, helping to support the young participants of Newcastle United Foundation’s employability programme.
This event gave participants the chance to take a closer look at the career pathways available in contact centre and manufacturing – two sectors which employ a large proportion of the North East’s working population.
Hosted by NRG and Newcastle United Foundation, the event saw Foundation participants reverse interview employers to learn more about the careers available within the contact centre and manufacturing industries, with the aim of dispelling the myths that surround jobs in these sectors.
Newcastle United Foundation is an independent charity supported by Newcastle United Football Club, working with over 50,000 people throughout the year on a range of different employability programmes – all of which aim to provide young people with the skills and confidence they need to enter the workplace.
Dawn Barber, Business Network Manager at the Foundation praised the event, commenting “It was such a great opportunity for our young people to have face to face contact with employers that ordinarily, they’d never be able to meet. It’s also really important to be able to dispel the myths that young people might have about certain career options.”
Katelynd Carter, a participant from Newcastle United Foundation’s employability programme said; “To have a chance to be on the other side of an interview was really good, it’s something I’ve never experienced before and has gave me a better understanding of what types of jobs different employers have on offer.”
Many high-profile employers from the region supported this event, including, British Airways, Sage, Tesco Bank, Formica and Elfab.
Guy Currey, Director at Invest North East commented, “Today’s event demonstrates the strong collaborative approach taken in the North East to help raise awareness of the opportunities available in these sectors. It’s great to see so many North East businesses here today talking to young people about the career pathways and the amazing variety of roles available.”
Shine Interview were also there to support the NU Foundation participants by coaching them through the video interview process. Shine provide recruitment software to large employers and are also working with schools and colleges to help with mock interviews, coaching, and self-reflection for students.
They are uniquely positioned to offer insights into both sides of the process and CEO David Copple commented, “The ability for young people to interact first-hand with companies is invaluable, learning about what it’s like to work in a given role, and experiencing what the recruitment and interview process may entail. Often this involves building up their confidence and allowing young people to think about how they are perceived by potential employers.”
Many of the employers involved in this event said it was eye-opening to realise that many young people are simply not aware of the vast amount of career opportunities actually available in contact centre and manufacturing sectors.
Julie Mordue, event organiser and Client Relationship Manager at NRG, spoke about the success of the event. “We’ve had a fantastic day, supported by a great mix of leading businesses and joined by a lot of local authorities and employability advisors. We hope to be able to replicate this event again in the future and together hopefully we can start changing perceptions of contact centre and manufacturing careers.”