The whole DYW Dundee & Angus team were out in force at Dundee’s annual Jobs Fair yesterday, Thursday 28th September. This was a great opportunity for local people to come and find out about the huge range of careers, jobs and training opportunities that are currently available in Dundee.
Dundee secondary school pupils got their own opportunity to attend the event, with the aim of broadening their horizons and introducing them to the variety of options that are available to them post-school. Their day kicked off with speeches from Craig Nicol, chair of the DYW board, David Martin, head of Dundee City Council, Janine Onyiuke, founder of international brand BrowJam and House of Liberty, Jane Elder of Robertsons and Simon Hewitt, vice-principal at Dundee & Angus College. Janine, Jane and Simon all shared their personal career journeys, all of which highlighted that there is No Wrong Path. Both Janine and Jane had no clue what they wanted to do when they left school, but through perseverance, hard work and the willingness to try new things they have both become very successful in their fields. Simon knew he wanted to be an international sports star, but found the reality didn’t meet his expectations after leaving education. Since deciding to say yes to new experiences and recognising the transferable skills he had developed from sports teams and part-time jobs his career has been meteoric.
All of the speakers agreed that while qualifications were helpful, the best attributes a young person needs when striving towards a career and applying for a job, are ‘soft-skills’; hard work, determination, communication skills and most importantly the ability to recognise and illustrate your individual strengths. All young people have experiences that are relevant for a job. It might have come from being involved in sports teams, or working on creative projects, playing an instrument, volunteering, or taking part in DOE/Scouts/Girl Guides or any other extra-curricular activity, but they are all important experiences which have helped develop personal skills and strengths. Young people need to recognise these and be able to articulate and demonstrate them to employers, recruiters and lecturers.
Simon, Jane and Janine all agreed that the best strength a young person can have is resilience. Everyone will fail at some things they try. Everyone will be made redundant at some point in their life and everyone will not get a job they apply for. But the most successful people learn from these experiences and push forward. They don’t let a failure stop them.
The secondary school pupils then had the opportunity to speak to the 50+ local organisations who had stands in the Caird Hall. They were able to speak to them about current vacancies and training and career opportunities open to them after secondary school.
DYW also brought along some of our Apprentice Ambassadors. This meant the students could speak to current apprentices about what an MA was like. They were able to hear first-hand from other young people. As a result the DYW gave out lots of information about available apprenticeships and linked lots of people to Skills Development Scotland, the best source of information for all apprenticeships.
The Apprentice Ambassadors came from all industries and all across the local area. We had MA’s from Dundee & Angus College, McGill Electrical, Robertsons, Michelin, SDS and even our own MA Lottie was there to answer any and all questions about apprenticeships.
We had Apprentice Ambassadors at our stall throughout the whole day, so when the doors opened to the public at 12pm they could speak to parents as well as young people. The apprentices were able to reassure parents that apprenticeships are an incredible pathway to launching a career.
Overall it was a very successful day. If you missed out the DYW team and SDS are always available to answer any question you might have.