Why You Should Support The Prince’s Trust Get Hired Initiative
I was really honoured to have been involved in The Prince’s Trust Get Hired event hosted at City Hall, an all-day event that helps a range of young people match their skills with employers and find life-changing jobs and opportunities.
The Prince’s Trust is a youth charity founded in 1976 by HRH The Prince of Wales and is dedicated to improving the lives of young people in the UK. The Trust supports 11 to 30-year-olds who are struggling in education, working fewer than 16 hours per work or who are unemployed. Many of the young people The Trust helps are in, or leaving, care, facing issues such as homelessness or mental health problems, or have been in trouble with the law. Last year the Trust helped over 56,000 young people turn their lives around.
Why did it feel important to me to help at this Prince’s Trust event? The whole initiative is dedicated to helping young people (16 to 30-years-old) become re-inspired to find a new path. The day was part training, part sitting on a panel for speed-dating-style interviews with prospective employers and giving feedback. Right now, I feel that I’m at a point in my career where I can actually give tangible advice and hopefully pass on tips that would be been helpful to me all those years ago. I feel so far removed now from who I was in my first ever job and yet I can still remember the fear of The Working World so vividly. I also feel incredibly fortunate that my path into the industry was relatively pain-free. I stayed with relatives during my first internship, my parents helped me get by when I was on my first salary in London of £11k a year and I had people guiding me which puts me in an extremely privileged position. I am lucky to have a supportive network of people and this is sadly not the reality for so many people. I met a lot of young people with a lot of setbacks, unpredictable circumstances and huge personal obstacles, and despite that, they were incredibly motivated. The funny this is, you go to the event being the person who is meant to inspire, and you end being inspired by everyone else.
Speaking of inspiration, the deputy mayor of London Rajesh Agrawal gave a brilliant pep-talk speech halfway through the day. He came to England from India in 2001 with £200 in his pocket; now his companies turn over £1billion+, he is the Chair of Oxfam’s Enterprise Development Programme and has been a Patron of The Prince’s Trust for many years. He was the example of someone who has done incredible things despite all the odds stacked against him.
I definitely believe that the power of letting yourself be “You” in scary career situations because you are more likely to find your career match even if it means a few rejections along the way. We should never be embarrassed about our personality traits – these traits are the things that signpost which job would be a good match for you. It sounds so cliché to say “be yourself”, but at the end of the day we are all humans and we all long to connect. There are so many examples of times where I tried to change my personality to fit in with workplaces that didn’t suit me and now I’ve embraced my core self, I’ve never been happier. The volunteers (me included) got to carry out mock interviews with the young people in small groups and I saw so many brilliant parts of their personality, parts that I encouraged them to also reveal in the real job interview scenarios as well. We spend SO much of our time at work. It’s OK to show your real self – it’s impossible to hide it in the long run any way. Another thing that came out of these conversations was how it’s OK to say “I don’t know”. It’s always better to be honest than make something up on the spot. The interviewers won’t mind and it shows you’re willing to learn.
Sharing interview tips in our groups was worthwhile and it brought back memories of my first interviews and the nerves of it all. Do you remember your first ever interview? Mine was a bit of a blur, I don’t have any funny stories to tell about it, it was a non-event. I was such a nervous wreck and just sat there pretty much just staring at the interviewer wondering where my confidence had disappeared to. I didn’t really know the protocol. How much of “yourself” should you be? How “formal” should you look? What questions should you ask? How early is too early to arrive at reception? Can you crack a joke? Does too much nodding make you look like Churchill The Dog? We discussed all of these things and had fun playing some games so that they could feel their most confident in the real interviews later that afternoon.
This initiative has grown enormously since launching three years ago. Jess Albone, the digital marketing manager, told me the first event was hosted in their workspace basement with flipcharts and so it was a big upgrade that this year Sadiq Khan himself offered up a huge room in City Hall. The energy in the room was buzzing, everyone was excited to be there. The excitement was heightened when we had a “break the ice” session with LEAP (a leadership training scheme) which was super impressive. In the short space of an hour the whole room learned confidence tips, body language pointers and how to give feedback in a constructive structured way.
All my first interview memories/jitters came rushing back realising how important these interviews could be for the future of these young people’s lives. I was so proud of everyone there. They put their best foot forward and I’m excited where the training and new skills will take them next. Zig zag your way towards your future.
I was also so inspired by the energy and positivity of The Prince’s Trust team who work tirelessly day in and day out to make sure the people on the scheme are supported and that there are tangible results at the end of it. This was the first time I’d volunteered in this way and I’m already excited to do it again.
To find out more about The Prince’s Trust programmes click here and to find out more about Get Hired go here.
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