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Training and apprenticeships provider Babington recently supported a group of our residents as they completed the Level 1 Customer Service Practitioner course. We caught up with Paula Sinclair to find out more about how Babington is supporting young people into employment.

Q. What do you think are the biggest challenges facing young people trying to enter the world of work or training today?

A. One of the biggest challenges facing young people today must be not having the experience and skills required to meet the employer’s needs and salary expectations. Many young people expect to be paid in line with experienced staff.

Q. Where do you think are the skills/knowledge gaps?

A. Basic communication skills. A high percentage of young people have low self-esteem and this is due to many factors. The pandemic has not helped and the overall mental health of our young people is at a high. This results in low confidence, lack of self-belief, anxiety – the list goes on.

Q. What do you think would better prepare young people for sustainable, long-term employment?

A. We all use the term employability and there are many employability programmes available for our young people, but are these programmes tackling or really preparing them for society? Life skills are also needed. It is finding out from the young people what they need and preparing training to suit. First Step training programmes are designed to tackle and overcome some of these barriers, which we all know run deeper than a one- or two-week course. My personal guide is: Listen – Understand – Prepare – Sustain.

Q. How do you help young people prepare for employment/training through Babington?

A. We are all different people with our own barriers, and everyone has their own story, and no one is exempt from what we see in our young people today; we have just learnt how to manage our lives which in turn gives us the mindset to overcome everyday issues by placing them in a priority box. A young person’s preparation for work is individual to their specific needs. Firstly, we listen, which is a crucial step to preparing for training and tailoring support around the individual’s needs to develop better futures.

Q. Babington recently ran a Customer Service course with YMCA residents. How can they use this qualification to further their employment opportunities moving forward?

A. Our CSL1 opens doors to so many opportunities, therefore I love it. The course is an opening to a higher qualification or most importantly added to a CV. This shows an employer at first glance that they have a qualification that supports every industry and that they have engaged, which itself strengthens applications.

The residents developed an understanding and knowledge of the various roles that can involve customer service, along with effective communication techniques and customer expectations. They also spent time understanding their own skills, abilities, and interests and how they would be used in a customer service role. This will support residents during the application process and answering questions at interview stage.

Identifying the residents’ strengths and working on areas for development supported them to build confidence in their own abilities and potential, and to be able to identify possible opportunities for employment, voluntary work and further education.

Q. What one piece of advice would you give to a young person who feels unsure about the direction of their employment path?

A. Take a step. Speak to someone, look at what you love and try to look at careers that support/align with your passion. If you do what you enjoy it won’t feel like work. I am not by any means saying that if a young person decides to be an astronaut do nothing else, because that is their passion, but let’s look at what excites them and how we can build a pathway to success.

For more information about how your organisation can support our Employability Programme, view our Corporate Partnerships page.