HR Inspiring the Future

The CIPD is pleased to be working with the charity Education and Employers Taskforce on a new free national initiative to get HR professionals to volunteer in schools to help young people become more work ready.

Inspiring the Future allows volunteers to be matched with a local state secondary school or college to help students with their CVs, conduct mock interviews and give them a greater understanding of how they can prepare for work.

Whatever your level or HR specialism, there is a role for you in helping pupils to better understand the world of work and how to apply for roles. You can help broaden their aspirations and inform them of some of the things they need to consider when writing their CVs or attending interviews.

Inspiring the Future also provides the option for you to deliver careers insight talks, to help young people understand the types of opportunities available to them when they leave education.

Are you inspired?

  • Inspiring the Future is a simple, quick and free way for you to work with schools and colleges.

  • You will be connected with schools/colleges securely online.

  • Volunteering can take place near your home or work – you choose the locations that suit you.

  • As a volunteer, you will not be required to commit to more than one session – you can volunteer as much as is convenient to you.

  • On average, sessions will last 1-2 hours.

  • Materials to assist you in delivering CV and interview workshops are available.

  • Criminal records checks are not required as a teacher will always be present to facilitate.

  • Demand from schools is high – pupils are waiting to hear from you!

How can I get involved?

You need to register your interest via the Inspiring the Future secure online portal. Once you have set up your profile, schools and colleges in your area will be able to contact you and will get in touch to set up either a career insight talk, CV workshop or mock interview session.

Given that HR professionals are particularly well placed to facilitate a CV workshop or conduct mock interviews, we are encouraging volunteers to tick that option as soon as it becomes available on the portal. A guide and template PowerPoint presentation will be made available to assist you with preparing for your workshop over the next few weeks.

Why is this important?

CIPD research has found that there is currently a huge mismatch between employers and young people at the recruitment stage. Our report Employers are from Mars, young people are from Venus: addressing the young people/jobs mismatch highlighted the lack of careers advice and guidance in schools as one of core problems. Many young people are leaving education unsure about how to write a CV or prepare for a job interview, and as a result are failing to meet employers’ expectations – an issue this initiative is designed to tackle.

As part of this research we asked employers what they see, in their recruitment activity, as the key issues young people face. Some of the points they identified are:

  • Young people unable to ‘sell themselves’ positively and in an employer-appropriate way.

  • General lack of understanding of expectations – punctuality, what to wear, how to present themselves, interaction.

  • Poor written communication, for example emails written in text-speak, not enough time spent on application forms.

  • Young people seeming ‘blasé’ or not interested/motivated in an interview.

  • Young people find it difficult to translate educational/personal experience into workplace scenarios without assistance/encouragement.

  • Answers on application forms are formulaic and don’t show any originality.

  • Candidates don’t know how to make themselves stand out.

  • Poor knowledge of organisations they apply for - they don’t research the organisaton.

  • Young people unable to ‘sell’ themselves on their CV.

Education and Employers Taskforce, the charity who set up Inspiring the Future, have also outlined the benefits of employer contact at school (those young people that benefit from it are less likely to become a NEET, that is 'not in employment, education or training', later on). As an outside professional volunteering in a school or college, you are helping to foster an understanding amongst young people about the world of work.

Listen to our Inspiring the future podcast

Watch these short You Tube clipsof HR professionals talking about the initiative

Don't forget to join the conversation on Twitter: #HRinspire