12th October 2016

Around 1,000 young people from schools across the North East went through mock interviews yesterday (7 June) in an event that could be huge for the prospects of school leavers in the region.

Organised by construction company Esh Group, the event was supported by many North East companies who took part in interview panels.

The interviews, held at St James’ Park in Newcastle, were designed to help improve future job prospects for school leavers. Around 30 schools took part from Cumbria, County Durham, Tyneside and Teesside.

Firms from across a wide range of sectors were lined up to conduct the interviews. They ranged from companies such as engineers Arup, Ryder architects and consultants Turner & Townsend, to retailers including Boots, banks including Barclays and Lloyds to sporting clubs, Newcastle and Sunderland Football Clubs and the Eagles Basketball Club – to name but a few. (See full list in editor’s notes)

The interview day is part of Esh Group’s ‘Building my Skills’ initiative which runs throughout the year and won a national Business in the Community award as best schools partner recently.

Students complete five sessions with Esh and its partners – with around 20 percent of those taking part going on to attend the mock interview day.

The young interviewees were able to use a breakout space to polish up their interview skills, collect further information on interviewing businesses and job opportunities.

Esh Group directly employs around 1,200 people through its businesses in the North East, in everything from civil engineering and building, and commercial and residential property development.

Organising the event has been a major undertaking, and staff from the company were on hand to co-ordinate the panels and school students throughout the day.

Chief Executive Brian Manning thanked the partner companies for their support with the Building My Skills programme throughout the year and his staff for their hard work in putting together and running the event.

Without other businesses being willing to be involved this wouldn’t be possible – I am delighted with the turn-out and commitment to helping students in the North East.

- Brian Manning

“The response from both schools and businesses to our invitation was excellent. Everyone recognised the importance of this kind of event in helping young people improve their career prospects.

“Some young people in the North East are still struggling to find jobs – yet companies such as Esh Group and our panel members know we will depend on today’s school-leavers for our future skilled workforce.

“So it made sense to create a forum where they could get together. We have held the mock interviews for several years but this by far the biggest and most ambitious event.

“The day gave young people a realistic experience that will help them in future interviews and provided an opportunity to gain insight into the world of work.

“We also hope that some students have made connections with businesses on the day that could lead to apprenticeships or placements once they leave school.”

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