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.”
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
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.
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