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


The Business Behind The Book

In one of my earlier blogs I wrote about the fact that publishing my first book was more than just that. In creating a product to sell I was also creating a business.

Whilst those first meetings with banks, accountants and web specialists make you feel like your own little empire is coming together, the truth of the matter is that it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Having worked for small companies before, I’m no stranger to a bit of entrepreneurial spirit but when you’re setting up a business from scratch, even if it’s not going to be your main source of income, it’s no small task.

For a start, setting up my own business alongside a busy and demanding day job means that I’ve made the most of some spare time over the Christmas holidays. That doesn’t mean it’s been all work and no play. Thanks to a couple of strategically requested Christmas presents, I’ve made the most of some quiet evenings in front of the TV to produce a pre-order flyer, design my invoices and get all those spreadsheets and finance trackers set up.

There’s also the little issue of finances that I would hazard a guess most people in employment, unless specifically responsible for a budget, simply don’t appreciate. This business has been set up using personal savings and it wasn’t until earlier today when I found myself weighing up envelopes (which type, how many, best value etc) that this really hit home. On reflection, I think managing a budget is something more young people in employment should be introduced to. Application of numeracy, one of the seven key employability skills I write about is something that many young people struggle to demonstrate yet it’s also a life skill that too few are learning. The next time I have a young person with us on work experience, there will definitely be a budgeting task for them and it will be made very clear that the skills they are learning are for life and for their CV.

So what’s next? Well the next few days will be focused on getting ‘Employability What?’ ready for the publisher. Lewis has almost got the final page layout complete and we’re close to signing off the cover design. I’ve planned out how many copies I can afford on the initial print run so as soon as the files are safely with the publisher, the next step will be to concentrate on the official launch, publicity and securing some more orders to coincide with the March 4th launch.

This is likely to be my last post before the New Year so I’d just like to finish by thanking everyone for their support in getting ‘Employability What?’ off the ground. 2014 is going to be AMAZING!


Bringing ‘Employability What?’ to life

They say a picture says a thousand words and I have to say I agree. From the outset I knew that illustrations would be a must to help ‘Employability What?’ appeal to its target audience. What I didn’t bargain for was just how much of a difference it would really make.

I’ve teamed up with a brilliant illustrator, Lewis Jackson (, who took the time to read the draft manuscript and get a thorough understanding of how I wanted the book to feel, what the style should be and where illustrations were required. In fact, because of this process, we only changed a couple of illustrations out of the 30+ that have been done.

As we work on the critical job of laying out each and every page, we thought it was about time to share a couple of these illustrations. We’re very excited about them and hope you love them as much as we do. We’d love to hear your comments too.

So here goes…

This image appears right at the beginning of the book where we first start to look at what employability skills are and why a student can’t wait until they’re ready to enter the world of work to develop them.

At the point of starting to look at writing CVs, this little character is shown.

We’ve also developed a set of employability icons which appear throughout the book and will also be a constant in my marketing materials and on my website.

It may be Christmas but Lewis and I have a busy few days ahead as we get ‘Employability What?’ ready to go to the publishers on January 2nd. Watch out for more posts over the coming days as I continue to share this book writing journey with you.

As ever, thanks for reading


Young People ARE Employable

As part of the day job, I often get asked to speak to young people about what businesses expect from them and yesterday was one of those days.

Having been asked to talk to a class of year 11 students at a school I know well, I was all prepared to talk them through the best way to prepare their CVs as I’d been asked to but taking a minute to read a few sections of my book, I decided to spend about half of the hour long session looking at employability skills instead. When the session got underway it was clear this was the right thing to do.

We’re talking about a school that really understands and promotes the importance of employability skills yet it was obvious that the students found it difficult to understand where skills they demonstrate in every day life will help them to get a foot on the career ladder.

Many of the students in the room had completed some form of work experience with some even being asked to return in one form or another yet realising that this was just the type of ‘experience’ a young person can put on their CV seemed to be a revelation for many.

It’s little wonder that employers report that they find young people lacking in employability skills but when you actually look at it, they often have the skills but don’t know how to convey it on their CV or in interview.

With this very fresh evidence as to the need, I hope that my book will help to show young people that they are employable. It guides them through each of the 7 key employability skills before focussing on pulling together their CV and interview techniques.

I’m pleased to confirm that ‘Employability What?’ is now available for pre-order with delivery to coincide with it’s official launch in March. Please contact me on for more info.

Whether for your students, yourself, your own children or as a gift for work experience students, ‘Employability What?’ is a must.

Thanks for reading


A bit of an update…

It’s been a while since my last post – sorry for keeping you out of the loop! Things have moved on at a pace in the last month and it’s been something of a whirlwind. Whilst I always appreciated that writing a book was going to be a challenge alongside family life, a full time job and all of the ‘extra’ things I’m involved in, the last month has been a real juggling act and has emphasised the need to divide things up and devote my time and attention in such a way that I can still do everything I need to.

So what’s been happening you might ask? Well, you might remember in an earlier post that I mentioned a student who had been with me on work experience was giving the book something of a test drive. The good news on this is that I’ve had the best feedback I could have hoped for and I’m happy that I’ve delivered exactly what she needed. In fact, I’ve managed to deliver what she didn’t even realise she needed so I’ll take that as a success.

Things have been moving on well in other areas too as I’ve met with my accountant and set the ball rolling on the business side of things. I’ve also started work with a good friend on looking at my website and marketing materials and I’m very excited to start putting these things together and seeing the whole brand around the book developing.

It’s hard to believe from the start of this journey that I’m now only a matter of a few weeks away from having a print ready book, perfectly illustrated, ready to send off to my publisher. The run up to Christmas is always a hectic one but I’m taking things to another level this year!

Keep an eye out for my posts over the next month as I start to share more and more about the book. If you’re lucky, I might even include a sneak peak at a few illustrations.

Thanks for reading


Ups and downs

Why is it you can have the most positive of weeks and then self-doubt hits you from nowhere?

Through the day job I’ve been able to work with a number of students this week including going out to a local school to carry out mock interviews with some of their year 10 students. This gave me the perfect opportunity to use some of the advice in my book and it was great to see their confidence boosted when they realised that they had things to add to their CVs that they simply hadn’t appreciated. Carrying out mock interviews with students is one of my favourite ways to work with students and help them prepare for the world of work that awaits them.

I’ve also been working with a student who has been with us on work experience this week. Being amongst my target auduence I’ve entrusted her with a draft manuscript to get her views. I’ve made her promise to give her honest feedback, not just what she thinks I want to hear. She’s being very secretive so far but what little feedback she is giving away is sounding positive.

I’ve also met with a very good friend who has given some invaluable advice on the business side of things but then at 1am this morning the doubts crept in.

What if no-one buys my book?

What if schools don’t like it because its not an academic piece precisely linked into the curriculum but gives a business perspective?

After a good hour or so fretting I realised that this must be something every author goes through. Every author must wonder if their book is pitched right for their audience or if the route they’ve chosen for publishing is the right one. I also had to remember why I’m doing this. This book is for me, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. The subject is also something I’m very passionate about and as I’ve said before, if it helps just a handful of students understand the skills required for work then I will consider it a success.

I’m sure there’ll be many more times when the fear and self-doubt kicks in but I certainly won’t be letting those feelings hang around for long!

The Power of Support

It’s been a week since my last post and a lot has happened in that time. Above all, I was bowled over by the support and comments I’ve received having started this blog and sharing my journey. I only ever expected my nearest and dearest to be interested in what I was doing so never imagined to have it read as far away as the USA and to have retweets and follows on Twitter from authors around the UK. If you’re not following me, please do so – I’m @annnewlove

This support has really spurred me on so thank you.

So in my last post I mentioned that I’d finally felt ready to share a draft of my manuscript with my boss, friend and mentor Sam and the good news is that his feedback was excellent. More important, it was honest. I needed the reassurance from someone who knew the subject matter that I’d pitched it right for my audience and on the whole, I seem to have done so. Sam also gave me some very constructive feedback on areas such as endorsements which I’ll definitely be following through.

The next big milestone that took place in the last week, after numerous e-mails, was my first phone conversation with my chosen publisher. Talking about the type of binding, the number of pages and the style and colour of the illustrations was something I’ve always had in my mind so for the conversation to move on to their distribution networks, registering the book’s ISBN number and the all important costs made the whole process seem very real. The scary outcome of the conversation was that to meet my launch deadline, print ready files need to be with them for the first working day in January! To say I was a little giddy when I got off the phone was something of an understatement!

So what happens next you might ask. The immediate priorities are to finish off the one section of the book that needed that bit more research and to expand on the About The Author section as per one of Sam’s comments. Why is it so difficult to write about yourself?! Aside from that there is the little issue of figuring out a name so any suggestions would be much appreciated!

Thanks for reading, I’ll update again soon