Author: annnewlove

Sound advice from BBC’s Steph McGovern

In order to give a real life context to employability skills, I used tweets from various people when writing Employability What? but I never thought I’d get the opportunity to meet anyone I’d quoted. When the speaker line-up at the Yorkshire International Business Convention had to change and a new speaker was announced, I knew that I had an amazing opportunity.

Steph McGovern, BBC’s business reporter gave the audience a summary of the UK’s economic position, sharing what businesses around the country are telling her but for me, the real gem of her address was when she moved on to the subject of young people and skills. The audience could be in no doubt at the end of her speech that they needed to play their part in up-skilling young people and opening their doors to allow them to experience the wealth of different industries and roles on offer.

Using a bit of tenacity, I was able to secure a couple of minutes with Steph so after waiting patiently behind the various reporters waiting to interview her, I showed her Employability What? and explained why I’d decided to write something that would hopefully help young people prepare themselves for the world of work.

With only enough time for one question before Steph was whisked away, I asked what she thought young people could do to get involved with business ad develop their own skills. Here’s what she said;

“Don’t just look to your teachers for career advice – go out and see and try things for yourself. Have a look at what jobs are out there and see if there is something you don’t know what its about and try and find out more about it. The biggest thing for me is that there are so many careers out there that you and I don’t know what they all are. Every time I go to another business I’ll find a load more jobs I’ve never even heard of.”

“Young people need to be willing to go out and find out more about the world of work. I often say just do as many work experiences as you can. If you rock up somewhere and you hate it, it doesn’t matter, you’ve learnt that you don’t like that industry. Or you might think there’s a job you’d really love to do, actually go and get as near as you can to it.”

“Don’t be afraid to find out more about the world of work because it is exciting and you’ve got to love your job.”

Steph pic


Take The Shot

For those of you who have followed my book writing journey from the start, you’ll have read about the man who finally inspired me to put pen to paper – Action Jackson @Actionjackson

Although the story spans exactly a year, it can be summed up in just a few lines:
The man who motivates thousands every year didn’t think he was good enough to join the big boys and realise his writing dreams. After telling him I’d never heard such an absurd notion and giving him a bit of a shove, he finally did it. Seeing his vision brought to life and have him put in print for all to see what my encouragement had meant to him, I too was inspired and took action to make my dream for Employability What? a reality.

So there you have it, one encouraged the other and in turn received the inspiration and motivation needed.

Jackson and I hadn’t seen each other since that day last March so when we were both lucky enough to be briefly in the same place at the same time, we made the most of it! He was giving a motivational speech at the Career Academies UK graduation in Manchester and I was there as a business mentor and local advisory board chair, supporting the wonderful students of Archbishop Sentamu Academy in Hull.

During his speech, he encouraged the students to take the opportunities that present themselves or even better, make their own opportunities. Of course, he delivered this in the true Jackson style, throwing balls into the crowd and encouraging them not to pass but to take the shot. He also used the context of our books as the perfect illustration

So why have I written this post? Well it’s for two simple reasons:

1. To thank an amazing man for giving me the self belief I needed
2. To prove that if you take the shot and aim for your goals, great things can be achieved

Special Offer Time!

Employability What? was released almost three months ago and as we enter the summer term, I decided it was time to have a special offer to encourage more schools, colleges and training providers to purchase Employability What? for their students.

Specifically aimed at students between the ages of 14 and 19, Employability What? helps them to understand the employability skills they are already using but probably don’t appreciate before guiding them through how to incorporate these skills and their experience into the perfect CV. When used in groups in the classroom, it links in perfectly with the recently released DfE statutory guidance on careers guidance and inspiration in schools.


To place your order, get in touch via e-mail on

Things are on the up in Hull

I normally keep my posts quite generalised, focussing on my own writing journey or employability in general but with some great news in my wonderful home City of Hull today, I felt compelled to be a little more specific for a change.

I’ve lived in Hull all my life and honestly couldn’t imagine ever living anywhere else. It is a beautiful City with a rich history and a business and education community that I have come to know and love for it’s “Can Do” attitude. Whilst some of us have felt the rumblings of something great coming for quite some time, to the outside world and to those doubters within our community, Hull has been hovering around the wrong end of just about every league table going and has been seen quite negatively in the media.

Things are on the up though. We have a Building Schools for the Future programme which is changing the face of our many and diverse communities as well as the educational chances of the students. Improvements in health care and housing are just as evident. Two big pieces of news though are real game changers for the City of Hull. In November, Hull was announced as UK City of Culture 2017, something that came as a bit of a shock to those outside our great City who simply don’t yet appreciate what Hull has to offer.

Today’s news that Siemens UK have formally signed contracts which will see them, their partners and immediate supply chain invest £310m in our area feels to many to be the icing on the cake in turning round Hull’s fortunes. With a pledge of 1000 jobs at Siemens alone, it’s certainly going to have an impact on our region’s employment figures and will firmly position the Humber as the UK’s Energy Estuary.

With all this great news, with the construction it will bring and with the cultural events planned it’s easy to think that Hull’s prayers have been answered. The truth is though, the hard work is yet to come and no-one is able to rest on their laurels. An increase in jobs doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be filled by local people. With a shortage of the necessary skills, it’s likely that those with the expertise needed will follow the jobs – at least in the short to medium term.

With so much focus now on Hull, it has never been more important for our young people to understand their employability skills and how they translate into the world of work. There is a lot we can do to support young people, whether we are a parent, a teacher or are in business. It’s important that we celebrate and encourage our young people – not everyone will want to be an engineer or a performer but with such investment into our City, there will be opportunities for everyone to play their part, so much so that the list is endless. The thing is though, competition will be fierce so they will have to make sure they stand out from the crowd.

I’m sure there will still be many doubters, but there are many more believers in Hull and with their support, we can help to ensure that our young people are prepared for a much brighter future, a future they deserve but must equally work for.


A bit of an update…

Having looked back at my blog, I can’t believe how long ago it is that I posted. Things have been such a whirlwind recently and the feedback I’ve been getting from the book has been excellent. I’ve had a couple of great reviews in and will be sharing them with you very soon.

I thought in this blog it would be good to share my experiences from the last week with you – a week that has been the epitome of all things employability and thank has also thankfully seen a few copies of Employability What? sold.

Tuesday morning saw us re-launch the Employability Charter, an initiative which aims to link business and learning to develop employability skills. This is something that I’ve been working on as part of my day job for the last 18months, learning as I’ve gone from Kerrie Jaquest from the Humber Education Business Partnership who has become a very dear friend and supporter. After a hugely successful year, the Humber LEP have now adopted the Employability Charter and see it as one of the key tools that will help support skills across the Humber. The re-launch event which showed off our new branding and website but also gave young people the stage to talk about their skills and routes into the world of work, highlighting to the employers in the audience how much they could have an impact.

The work of the Employability Charter is something I’m hugely proud of so to have our work acknowledged by the Humber LEP is a great pat on the back and gives the platform and encouragement to move it further. For the Employability Charter to receive a Special Recognition Award at the Hull Esteem Consortium awards celebration on the same day was again testament to something I very much believe in. Young people ARE employable, they just need help to realise it.

Wednesday saw me working with two year 8 classes at a local school, running interactive sessions which introduced them to employability skills in exactly they same way as I do in the pages of Employability What?. As is usually the case when working with students, they are oblivious to the skills they already posses, let alone how they can be grouped together and how they are used in business yet by they end of the 50 minute session, all were engaged and could highlight where they were demonstrating those all important employability skills.

The students were mildly amused as the photographer from the local paper interrupted the last lesson to take a series of shots for a forthcoming newspaper interview about Employability What?.

This week has been National Careers Week and National Apprenticeship Week and as such a perfect time for me to launch Employability What? throughout my networks. The thing is though, this book is relevant to every young person, every day so I would urge every parent reading this to think about their own children and every teacher to think about the young people in their charge.

Should you want to purchase a copy, visit

Or to order for your class, drop me an e-mail on

Thanks for reading


It’s Here!!!

It’s been little over 7 months since this journey began. It’s been an experience and a learning curve but over this last two days there has been a flurry of activity that has completely blown me away.

Having submitted my print ready files and artwork to the lovely people at The Choir Press on January 2nd, I’ve been waiting eagerly for the post every day, waiting for the approval copy to arrive. As much as you can visualise what you want the finished book to look like, until that copy is in your hands you can’t really get a feel for it. My fantastic illustrator Lewis and I had planned how much time we’d need to go through Employability What? and make the necessary tweaks but I’m very happy to report that on Tuesday evening I got home to find the very first copy waiting on the mat. It was perfect! There was not a single thing I wanted to change. My vision for Employability What? had been turned into one heck of a reality and believe me, that’s an amazing feeling.

In all the time I’ve been writing, my family and in particular my husband Allan had not read any of my work. Instead they chose to wait until this moment to see the book in all it’s finished glory and I’m actually glad that that’s the decision they made. Allan and indeed my friends and family have been hugely supportive but there have been occasions where I’ve thought they possibly been humouring me a little. It’s clear they are proud now they’ve seen it.

Receiving and signing off the approval copy was a massive milestone but to get a call yesterday morning from my mum telling me my auntie had just pre-ordered via Amazon was the icing on the cake. Being new to this process, I envisaged waiting for the book to show up on line, probably even after release date so to find that the publication date was being brought forward to February 14th and was already available for pre-order on line almost knocked me flat.

So now I’m gearing up to launch Employability What? and am carrying my approval copy with me everywhere, to show those who have offered their encouragement throughout this process or just to talk to people about how my incredible day job,which will hit the 5 year mark during the week my book is launched, has led me on this journey.

One last thing before I sign off and try to stop my head from spinning…. Here’s the link, just in case you were interested 🙂

As ever, thanks for reading.


Why Employability?

After two weeks back at the day job, I thought I’d take a few minutes to share a some experiences with you which have reinforced for me just why I have written ‘Employability What?’.

I’ve been working with three young people since being back at work and each of them has a story which is by no means uncommon.

The first of these is a young man I’ve just started working with who is doing a long term work experience placement in order to help build his confidence whilst studying. The feedback that I’ve had from those who know him best is that after just an informal interview and the first day of his placement, he is already seeing the benefits of working with business. We have a long way to go with this young man but I’m confident that by the time he leaves us, he’ll be more than ready for whatever his next step may be.

The second is a young man named Adam. I first met Adam as a Year 12 student in 2012 when he came to us as an intern via Career Academies. During his time with us, his employability skills developed at an unbelievable rate and it was amazing to see him grow and develop. The quiet young man who started with us was soon taking centre stage delivering presentations. Over the last 18 months we’ve continued to work with Adam on and off and are delighted to have him working with us on the Employability Charter @Emp_Charter on a voluntary basis until uni starts up again in February. He could have spent the month catching up with friends but instead he’s taken the opportunity to volunteer to do something that will ultimately help more young people gain employability skills whilst further enhancing his own and adding experience to his CV.

The third is a young lady with an incredible attitude to work. Until very recently, Deborah was one of those lovely Twitter friends you have yet to meet in person. She has an incredible array of skills and talents but is finding it tough to find work. It was when copy checking ‘Employability What?’ and in particular the section on experience that Deborah’s tweet flagged up asking if anyone could offer her work experience to help bolster her CV and maybe even lead to a job. It was this attitude that made me one of the first to respond and she’s now been with us for a few days, again working on the Employability Charter as we prepare to roll it out across the Humber.

From the young man still in education to Deborah who has a degree under her belt, all three are being proactive and are making themselves more employable but for me there are three things that we should all take note of:

1. Young people have a lot to offer to businesses, often due to the fresh approach or new skills that age credits them with. Adam rolled out our cloud based ICT system during his internship and Deborah has developed several forms of social media for the Employability Charter in just 3 days.

2. Regardless of age, support is needed to help people become more employable and this is something that more organisations can get involved in.

3. For every young person being proactive, there are an unknown number of others who risk falling through the cracks.

In talking to all three of of these young people I could relate so many areas of ‘Employability What?’ to what they were saying and can only hope that it can help more young people to develop their employability skills and be more prepared to enter the world of work.

Thanks for reading