Nescot, the only college in Surrey with a REED Employment Centre on campus.
Everybody has heard about the problems of youth unemployment today and the challenges facing young people securing the first step on the employment ladder. NESCOT has responded to this challenge by being only the second college in the UK to have its own in-house Employment Centre provided by REED, the High Street recruitment experts, in partnership with the awarding body NCFE.
“Helping our students to compete successfully in the workplace is one of our most important jobs,” says NESCOT Principal, Sunaina Mann. “Our students tell us that we provide them with good quality courses and a great college experience. But we want to go further than that and give our students the boost that comes from having professionals around to help them into work and on to great careers in the future”.
The ‘REED Centre’ opened in October at NESCOT and boasts three full time recruitment specialists who are on-hand every day to help students polish their CVs, prepare for job interviews and embed the thinking and work place behaviours that employers demand. The REED Centre team works with students on a one-to-one basis in the new REED Centre at the heart of the College. They also visit students in their tutorial groups as part of the College’s emphasis on employability and enterprise. The team focus particularly on the ‘mindset’ of the young person. In a recent survey of 1,264 employers conducted by REED, 97% put this ‘mindset’ element ahead of skills as something they look for when recruiting. In a further study of 30,000 CVs (comparing successful CVs against unsuccessful ones), REED found that demonstrating ‘mindset’ in action on your CV “tripled your chances of getting and keeping” the best job.
One week after the Centre opened, the REED Centre team are already well known to staff and students and are achieving results. Chris Border, a current NESCOT student in Sports Science, said “It is a weight off my mind. The Reed team really helped me – I was really desperate for work, so it was such a weight off my mind when I found my job through the Reed Centre”. Health and Social Science student, Giorgia Gonnella, was helped to obtain a work experience placement: “I found the Reed Centre really useful. When I needed to find a work experience placement quickly they helped me with my CV and covering letter, and gave me advice on how to speak to employers on the phone which helped me to go and find myself a placement really quickly”.
At the beginning of the year, the REED Centre works with local employers to source part time work, work placements and internships. They then prepare students for interviews and recruitment events. For those students who don’t want to move on to higher education and for whom employment is their target at the end of their course, NESCOT’s REED Centre team will support individual students to develop their employment plan, scan and research potential employers and undertake job search. During this final phase, students will receive intensive coaching to prepare their applications and practice their interview skills.
For many students, having found work and proven themselves with their new employer, there may well be opportunities to continue to improve their skills through an apprenticeship. As Nick Hughes, Operations Manager at the REED-NCFE group says , “Our objective is to secure NESCOT college leavers with good jobs and then to work with employers and the College to create high quality apprenticeships that offer progression for the young person and provide the employer with a team member who will grow with their business .” “We want NESCOT students to be recognised by employers in the region as the employees of choice for their businesses”, says Sunaina Mann, NESCOT’s Principal.