We went to Birmingham as part of National Apprenticeship Week to deliver a day long employer-led apprenticeship event!

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week this month, Construction Youth Trust was in Birmingham delivering a day-long employer-led apprenticeship event in partnership with Balfour Beatty VINCI, and our young people shone!

The apprenticeship route is a great opportunity for young people to develop practical skills alongside their studies, earn while they learn, and gain experience of the workplace which is invaluable to employers.

Our CITB funded Higher Level and Degree Apprenticeship programme promotes apprenticeships as a valid alternative to full-time university routes, and give students practical support in standing out to employers enabling them to make successful apprenticeship applications. The programme levels the playing field for our young people by connecting them to employers and delivering practical activities linked to stages of a recruitment process to help build their employability skills and familiarity with employer expectations.

In Birmingham, we delivered an all-day event made up of an apprenticeship masterclass and a mock assessment centre. In the morning, the young people took part in an informative Q&A session with a panel of industry professionals and current apprentices from Balfour Beatty VINCI, which gave the students the opportunity to ask questions to this experienced group and to hear from young apprentices who are at the beginning of their career journey. Connecting young people to relatable role models allows them to see someone like them succeeding in industry, raising their aspirations and inspiring them to take their next steps.

The formal mock assessment centre was split into three activities. During the group activity, under the watchful eye of Balfour Beatty VINCI professionals, the young people were given the task of establishing the ethos of a brand new organisation which they were then required to pitch to justify their decisions.

The students showed outstanding communication and debating skills, methodically working through their options. The professional panel were really impressed by the students’ teamwork and how they equally valued everyone’s opinions - engaging in some interesting ethical debates along the way! The pitch was confidently presented, and the group was unfazed by some challenging questions posed by panel members.

The final two activities of the assessment centre came in the form of an individual presentation and mock interviews, giving the students the chance to stand out on their own and get some one-on-one personalised feedback from the professional judges.

Our young people rose spectacularly to the challenge. The presentations were given on a range of topics from the influences of social media to racism in football, and each student spoke eloquently and made topical thought-provoking points. Furthermore, the professional volunteers who conducted the mock interviews told us afterwards how impressed they were with the students’ professionalism.

We were so proud of the students’ performances across the entire day. The young people honed employability skills that they will be able to take forward when applying for jobs in the future and really impressed the industry volunteers.

We are thrilled to say that two young people who performed very well on the day have already succeeded in securing places at Balfour Beatty VINCI’s forthcoming assessment centre, with the potential of being enrolled full time with the company!