Kent County Council is calling on employers to help young people into work by giving them interview experience or offering them an apprenticeship – or both.
The council’s Made in Kent apprentice programme launched its 1,000 Interviews project at Oakwood House in Maidstone on Tuesday (November 7) with the aim of giving 1,000 young people the opportunity to meet with employers in a mock interview setting.
On Tuesday, 40 young people and 12 employers came together in a bid to get more youngsters into employment.
A number of similar events over a year will offer young people interview experience, the opportunity to discuss career options, follow-up feedback and continued support, as well as real opportunities to apply for apprenticeships.
But while more than 3,700 young people, aged 16 to 24, have registered their details on the new website, employers have listed just 1,287 apprenticeship places as being available.
Roger Gough, KCC’s cabinet member for children, young people and education, said: “Currently there is a gap between the number of employers registering vacancies on our new website www.apprenticekent.co.uk and the number of young people looking for an apprenticeship.
“We know it is early days and we need to get more employers to sign up to the website, however, we are concerned that the aspirations of lots of young people in Kent are not being realised.
“The idea behind the 1,000 Interviews project is to give young people experience at interviews and a meaningful experience with an employer. We will keep in contact with them and will try to match them to a suitable opening. For anyone needing more support we can provide careers guidance.
“Figures from the website show, for example, that currently 295 young people have registered an interest in an apprenticeship position in engineering, however there have only been 54 vacancies in that field since October 2016, a deficit of 241. Yet we know that we have shortages in engineering and would love to be able to help those young people into their chosen career field.
“The event got the project off to a fantastic start, introducing employees of the future to business experts and providing Kent’s young people with invaluable experience that will help them on the road to their chosen careers.”
The 1,000 Interviews project is being delivered in partnership with colleges, training providers and employers with a careers advice panel, made up of industry experts, supporting the days.
Parents and carers will also be invited to attend and participate in an apprenticeship ‘myth busting’ seminar at the end of each event.
The target is to get 500 young people into work as a result of the interview days and offer advice and support in the future to everyone who takes part.
Every young person who attends one of the events will have a 30-minute interview with a panel of employers from the fields they have registered an interest in.
Ten minutes will be spent talking about potential next steps, with the interview panel providing advice as to how to move forward in their area of interest.
Interview feedback and targeted support, including advice on where to look for an apprenticeship or other suitable offer, will be delivered at a later date. Each young person will receive a named contact for support and regular follow up calls until they move into the world of work.
To register your interest as an employer or young person, and to find out more, including when the next events will be taking place, visit www.apprenticekent.co.uk