Volunteering with Form the Future

Mock interviews with students at Long Road 6th Form College, Cambridge

On 28th November, I had the privilege of being invited by Form the Future to take part in mock interviews with students at Long Road 6th Form College. It’s 25 years since I attended there as a student myself, so it was also a little trip down memory lane. I don’t recall having the opportunity to take part in mock interviews when I was there, so it felt good to give something back to the local students. It’s a different world of work young people are encountering to the one I experienced, so I was intrigued to meet the students. Not least because my two children will soon be embarking on their further education journeys.

I was absolutely blown away by the interesting, mature and thoughtful answers these young people gave. The students I interviewed were all on the Health and Social Care course. They had ambitions to become paramedics, midwives, nurses, mental health workers and criminologists. They had all come down different paths to Long Road, and most had quite clear ideas about their onward journey into more study or employment, including apprenticeships (which have had a recent resurgance).

The main thing that struck me was that the students who were most confident had experience of extra curricular activities or part-time work. They found it much more easy to answer the questions about working in a team or how to deal with a difficult situation.

It was also incredibly rewarding to tease out information from the more cautious students who were less confident and discover hidden strengths.

I’m still buzzing from this experience. I hope I was able to show the students that it’s not too daunting to be interviewed by an adult, and that they deserve to have faith in themselves.

Karen Arnott Form the FutureI also left some of them with a little story about a time I was interviewing for a graphic designer to join my team. We had a favourite candidate from the CV selection stage, and he interviewed brilliantly. Until the question ‘tell me about a time you encountered a difficult situation at work, and how you dealt with it’. He proceeded to tell us about a time he had a disagreement with a colleague which ended up with him grabbing his colleague by the scruff of the neck. He was able to reflect that it perhaps wasn’t the best way to deal with the situation, but needless to say we didn’t offer him the position!

My key takeaways:

  • Young people should be given (and take up) the opportunity to participate in activities outside of school. This enriches their education and increases their confidence.
  • Students should aim to get some work experience as soon as they are able.
  • There are some brilliant students in our local schools with noble ambitions, I have every faith they will achieve their goals.
  • Always have a story up your sleeve about a difficult situation that doesn’t involve grabbing colleagues by the scruff of the neck!

If you’re interested in volunteering with Form the Future, I can highly recommend it. You don’t have to commit to anything specific, you’ll receive a regular email listing local events in schools and can sign up to any that suit.