Over a 6 week period in October and November last year, HM Passport Office (HMPO) in Derby participated in the Engaging Our Schools project, playing host to students from a local secondary school over a period of 6 weeks. The sessions offered an insight into the civil service and the skills and attributes required for the world of work. The 10 students from Derby Moor College were pre-selected by the school for the 6 week programme.
Alison Eyre of HMPO speaks about her experience:
We split into pairs to arrange sessions for the 6 topics we decided to cover to work on the content. It was interesting to see the different styles and formats of the sessions and the way the students gradually became more confident and engaged over the period.
The topics covered over the 6 weeks included: overview and tour of the office, customer service, job applications, interview preparation and mock interviews. It all ended in week 6 with a celebration event and presentation of certificates to the students.
Although we had not known what to expect, the students were all bright and engaged and, as the weeks progressed and their confidence grew, they participated fully during the sessions. Some of the students had language difficulties but they all tried hard and were eager to accept the help and advice given.
When asked to give their dream jobs, they had all thought out their future plans and were aiming for professions such as engineering, nursing, construction and law. They had looked into future learning opportunities and qualifications and had a definite path to follow. We were impressed by their ambition and determination to achieve their goals.
The students were polite and we were impressed by their behaviour and the interest shown in all the sessions. We were able to mentor and give our own advice and this was appreciated and eagerly received.
It was a fantastic experience for all. We feel that we gained as much as the students and we were privileged to help such a lovely group. The school have already asked that we repeat the programme next year with a different group of students and that is something that we will all look forward to.
If the opportunity arises for other offices to participate in the Engaging our Schools project, our advice would be to put aside any worries and eagerly accept. You will not regret it!
If you would like to know more about Engaging our Schools or have a team in your office who are keen to take part, please contact Nick Tooley