Niace What Employers Want

Niace What Employers Want



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-CLIENT VLOG (Will be sent to accompany the report once completed)



Having met with Lorraine & Nicola after various phone meetings I was very excited about rolling the project out. The resource pack was very accessible and easily adjusted to meet the needs of our clients (See Below) and the programme was flexible enough for this to happen. I had the opportunity to work with resources from the website also and the testimonials worked well as motivation for our participants.

We were able during this meeting to easily align project outcomes with NOW’s organisational outcomes and could see the benefit the project would have.

I also had plans for various services within NOW to get involved including, training service, employment service & career guidance.

We recruited 9 clients in total from all of NOW’s services all of whom are actively job searching. We had 2 participants drop out due to other commitments early on in the project and 7 complete the project.


As the programme stood it was a one day/ ½ day training session which I felt needed to be extended for our clients, with specific learning needs, to get the best out of the programme. I devised a programme plan (below) which was based on the original timetable but I took each section as a standalone session. I feel this was needed to help the clients retain the information and gave enough time to teach the various subjects. We also wanted to utilise the time to increase confidence & build interview skills.

We also extended the age limit to 26 years to account for the fact many of our clients don’t finish school until age 19 and therefore college until age 22/23.

Upon consulting with participants it was decided the interviews would be recorded instead of being scribed as they felt uncomfortable doing this especially in what could possibly be quite an intimidating environment and that a member of staff would be present also.


We used the project in a box resource during our sessions and also the NIACE website.

We also used NOW training sessions – Communication, Confidence building, Career Guidance

Aaron and myself both have backgrounds in youth work & performing arts and so we incorporated both elements of this into each session. We used the Agusto Boal theatre technique to engage with the clients during Mock interviews. This gave them the opportunity to show what they had learnt and also to take the lead in the session. This forum theatre technique is widely used to educate audiences by giving them the opportunity to stop the action, make a change and see how theirinputchanges the course of the action.

We used the good/bad interview scenarios as our scene and got great feedback from participants regarding the interactive nature of the session.


Week 1 10th – 16th AugClient Recruitment (6 – 10 clients aged 16 – 26) AM/EMC

Week 2 19th Aug 12.30 – 2.30Group Session (1 SESSION 2 ½ hrs)

-Team Building

-Intro to the project

-Discussion on outputs

-Evaluation Star INITIAL

Week 3 26th/ 28th Aug 12.30 – 2.30Group Sessions (2 SESSIONS - 2 hrs each)

-Confidence building

-Communication workshop

-Initial Employer Engagement (6 in total)

Week 4 2nd Sept 10 - 3Group Guidance Session (1 SESSION 5 Hrs)

-What is Employment?

-What do employers want? Key Skills etc

-Interview questions

-Feedback for conference

-Evaluation Star MID WAY

Week 5 7th / 9th Sept 12.30 – 2.30Breakout session’s (2 Sessions 2 Hrs each)

-1:1 mentoring

-Interview Roleplay

-Mock Interviews

Week 6 14th – 20th SeptInitial Employer Meetings (Various Sessions)

Week 7 21st – 27th SeptEmployer Interviews & Feedback (Various Sessions)

Week 8 28th – 4th OctEmployer Interviews & Feedback (Various Sessions)

Week 9 7th Oct 12.30 – 2.30Evaluations/feedback & Reporting

Week 10TBC Possible sustainability of project


DATE / 18/08 / 26/08 / 29/08 / 02/09 / 07/09 / 09/09 / 07/10
Alain / x / x / x / x / x / x
Andrew / x / x / x / x / x
Arran / x / x / x / x / x / x / x
Elvin / x / x / x / x / x / x / x
Laura / x / x / x / x / x / x
Mark / x / x / x / x / x
Piaras / x / x / x / x / x / x / x
Total / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 7 / 7 / 7


We had planned our employer engagement to take place midway through the training as we wanted participants to have ownership over the employers that were contacted.

After contacting a number of employers we had 7 confirmed matching all sectors the participants had chosen.

Our Employers were Coca Cola, Iceland, The MAC, LOAF Catering, Belfast Zoo (Belfast City Council), Grand Opera House & Google.

We met for face to face interviews with all but Google which took place via Google Hangouts. Each interview was recorded as we felt it would have been a lot of pressure on the clients to scribe.


Evaluation Type / Completed by / Timeframe / Method / Location of form / materials / Responsibility
Evaluation Star Initial / All participants to complete individually / Session 1 (at beginning of session) / Evaluation star method is explained to participants and they are asked to complete. Support from staff as appropriate / EMC to supply / SH/AM/EMC
Session evaluations / All participants to complete at the end of each session / At end of every session i.e:
  • Wed 19th Aug
  • Wed 26th Aug
  • Fri 28th Aug
  • Wed 2nd Sept
  • Mon 7th Sept
  • Wed 9th Sept
/ Evaluation tree to record feedback on branches using post-it e.g:
  • Most useful parts of session
  • What did you learn
  • Anything missing from the session that should have been covered
  • Things that you would change about the session
  • Anything you’re worried about for next session
All feedback to be recorded and shared with SH/AM/EMC by email / Post-its from stationary cupboard / Staff leading each session
Video blog / To involve all participants / At each session (as above) and during final session 7th Oct / Video blog to record feedback on project and to capture what participants have learnt employers want / AM to use Youth service ipad / Staff leading each session
Evaluation Star Mid-way / All participants to complete individually / At end of 3rd Session Fri 28th Aug / Completed by individuals with support from staff as appropriate / EMC to supply / EMC / AM
Evaluation Star Final / All participants to complete individually / Final session Wed 7th Oct / Completed by individuals with support from staff as appropriate / EMC to supply / SH/AM/EMC
Project evaluation / All participants to contribute / Final session Wed 7th Oct / Group discussion with prompt questions and Yes-No scales used to identify and draw out thoughts etc. Need to identify feedback on the project as well as what participants have learnt from employers / SH / EMC to draft discussion questions / SH/AM/EMC
Employer Evaluation / Each employer to complete following interview / During employer interview / Adapted Employer Feedback Form (produced by NIACE) to be distributed to employer at end of interview (with copy followed up by email.) / SH to adapt NIACE form to include some LDD specific questions. Employer to return completed form by post or email to NOW / SH to adapt form
AM / EMC to send follow up email to employers?
Staff Evaluation / Each staff member requested to feedback by email / By end of project 7th Oct / Staff evaluation designed to capture feedback impact on participants, ways to improve, etc / SH to design and forward / SH to design
SH/EMC/AM/PS/CML to complete



All of our participants scored higher on midway & final evaluations compared to the baseline completed during the first session.

On average from baseline to final evaluation our participants increased by 2 on every point

Some Participant feedback from the final evaluation star –;

“I think my independence is very, very good. I am independent to go out to get a job and do more training”

“My productive use of time is doing the Facebook campaign”

“I am very motivated to get a job and live on my own”

“I feel no stress when I am on the course”

“[Social skills] ...I give a four because I feel more comfortable as a group”

“[Confidence/Self esteem] ..Even the adults we interviewed were jittery”



The Evaluation tree was used after every session asking:

  • Most useful parts of session
  • What did you learn
  • Anything missing from the session that should have been covered
  • Things that you would change about the session
  • Anything you’re worried about for next session

Clients were given the opportunity to discuss any fears with the group or 1:1 before the session ended which helped to shape future sessions and for participants to get the most from the programme.


The final programme evaluation was done by using the YES/NO scales to identify the following questions. We spent time listening to the answers and –

Have you learnt something?

YES (5) –How to meet new people/Interview Skills/Experience & skills are just as important as qualifications/Sometimes you just need confidence & motivation

Have you enjoyed your time on the programme?

YES (4) – Giving Feedback to the employer was good

NO (1) - I think it would have been better if we were interviewed by the employer or do both

Have you gained employability skills?

YES (5) – Confidence/Communication skills/appropriate answers for interview/time keeping

Have you gained confidence speaking to Employers?

YES (3) – I can speak in front of people now/I learnt to listen and become more confident/I saw that even the employers can get nervous

NO (2) – I liked having the staff there as a safety net

Would you change anything?

YES (5) – More activities/more girls/more mock interviews

Do you feel the programme will help you in the future to gain employment?

YES (5) – Have gotten more experience/DefinitelyYes/Was good to work on it

Would you recommend this programme to other young people?

YES(4) – They would gain more confidence/more experience/It does very well

NO (1) – I would not recommend in case they don’t like it

State one line of advice you would give to other young people taking part in the programme

“Listen and take it all in because you’ll have no regrets”

“Listen and make sure you know everything”

“The only thing holding you back is your own mind”

“Listen to instructions because it makes you more focused”

“Learn as much as you can”


The project in a box resource gave us the basis of our questions but we also had a session around tweaking the questions to suit the participants, making them more comfortable asking them and also helping them to understand what they are asking

The questions asked during the interview are below:

1.Please can you introduce yourself?

Please can you tell us about your job role?

2.Please can you provide brief details about the organisation?

What does the organisation do?

How many people are employed by the organisation?

Who are your main customers?

What level of experience, qualifications or training do employees generally need in order to work here?

3.In what ways are young people involved in your organisation?

How many employees are aged 16-24?

Do you recruit young people as apprentices?

Do you offer any work experience opportunities to young people?

(if young people are not really involved in the organisation) Please can you tell us why young people are not involved in the organisation?

4.When recruiting staff what skills and qualities do you look for?

What are the most important skills and qualities you are looking for in younger recruits?

Why are these skills/qualities important?

What training, if any, do you offer to young people recruited to the organisation?

5.Can you tell me how young applicants can show they have the skills you are looking for?

6.In your experience, do many young people, who apply for jobs with your organisation, have the skills needed to gain employment here?

In general which particular skills do you think young people need to develop?

7.If a young person has left school with a few or no qualifications, have equivalent essential skills or have a Learning Disability, what can they do to increase their employment chances?

Would you consider employing someone without good GCSE’s?

How important are qualifications compared to skills and experience?

Would you consider employing a young person with a learning disability/difficulty or with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder)?

8.What are the most important things that would help young people be successful in applying for work at your organisation?

9.We are making a guide for young people called, ‘What Employers Want’, what would you suggest we include in that?

10.Have you anything to add about young people and how they get a job?

Collated answers to each question are as follows –

3. Young people involved in work experience & placements, based on age young people are involved in primary school projects, DEN collective youth project, MADE festival which was run by young people, young people employed as front of house staff & bar staff, recruitment is from age 16 upwards

4. Equivalent GCSE’s, experience, I look for a good personality over skills as they can be taught on the job, trust, customer service skills, reliability, can talk to people, enthusiastic, imaginative, creative

5. Make your application for a good sell (professional/unique), positive approach, good presentation at interview, have the right attitude, good communication skills, willingness to work/learn, be confident in the interview, read the job description well before applying and get these points across in interview, be passionate about it, give relevant examples during interviews

6. Training needs are identified and followed up, skills can be learnt on the job, placement opportunities in your preferred job are available, there is basic training for everyone (Belfast Zoo), We have a good track record of employing young people and we don’t expect them to have all the skills required as we help provide and develop (MAC Theatre), They do and at a high standard usually (Grand Opera House)

7. Volunteering to learn the skills is a possibility, do your homework on the organisation get to know what they’re about before applying, qualifications can come second to personality in an interview, other training can be considered, experience is taken into account.

8. Passion, Keen to learn and develop, confidence in interview, think about what you want to do – gain experience & training, take your time to complete the application form, think carefully about your answers, show you are hardworking, flexible, good personality and have potential, sell yourself, transferrable skills

9.Be yourself, gain customer service skills, know your transferrable skills, show your personality, write your positive points down, use your initiative, put yourself in the employers shoes & think what would you want in an employee, be self motivated, communicate effectively,

10. Show you want to work, get help to fill in application forms and to prep for interviews, keep trying, take the opportunities when they come, follow your passion and interests, the world of work has changed – use social media to your advantage, have some get up and go – hand out CV’s, make appointments with employers just like this, show you can be the furute of the company, persevere, keep applying, young people are our future and we should be developing their skills, network & make connections, have life skills.

We are currently putting together a short video with participant comments and highlighting various employer interviews which when completed will be sent through to accompany this report.