Have you ever wondered what future employers expect from new recruits who are straight out of school?
Twenty Year 10 – 12 Good Counsel College students recently found out, when they attended an Industry Breakfast hosted by the school. They exchanged opinions and ideas with business owners and leaders over a delicious breakfast earlier this year.
An Open Conversation
A relaxed and casual atmosphere was set up by Principal Cathy Barrett and her team so that the students and business guests alike could make the most of the morning ‘think tank’. Following coffee and a beautiful spread of tropical fruit, bacon and pastries, the conversation began not only addressing employers’ expectations, but those of the students as well.
Chris Lowrey was the local Ergon Energy representative who came along. He said, “The morning was a good community event. I met people I wouldn’t normally talk to and got fresh ideas that I can bring back to our industry. I met students who were engaged in the discussion and are now progressing into what they might do later in life.”
In small groups, the collaboration of 56 students, College staff and prospective employers came up with a range of qualities that employers look for and value in their employees. These included:
- Tidy and well presented
- Eager to learn – keen and interested
- Hard working
- Able to show initiative
- Polite and well mannered
- Have good communication skills
- Knowledge of technology
Not only what employers want
The students also had an opportunity to talk about what they look for in an employer and/or potential workplace:
- Set clear directions and expectations
- Opportunities for career advancement
- Happy and positive
- Warm, friendly and welcoming
- Provide mentoring and training
- Encouraging and accepting
- Understanding and supportive
- Engaging and fun
- Offer a variety of experiences
- Have processes in place
Motivation and free food
Patrick Carpenter is in Year 10 at the College and attended the breakfast.
He said, “I gained an understanding of critical values that potential local employers look for. The things that stood out to me most were reliability, good work ethic, and initiative to do what needs to be done without being asked.
“I thought the morning was good – I got some free food and felt motivated about future work possibilities. It showed us what we needed to know.”
Partners for the future
Good Council College’s Vocational Education and Training Coordinator, Marcelle Foster praised the business community for their support.
She said, “We have always been overwhelmed by the generosity of our community to accommodate our students (in work experience) but more so, invest in their future with time and training.”
Beyond the jobs
The think-tank not only explored expectations of the employer and employee but opened the discussion on how the students can work with industry to make their home town a place where they want to work and prosper.
This discussion encouraged visionary thinking and resulted in some positive and exciting ideas about the dreams the participants hold for the future of their small town, Innisfail.
The questions further facilitated some collaborative thinking about how the school ‘army’ of 400 or so, can work with the community, businesses, and Council to help make some of these dreams come true.
Some of the actions the group came up with included:
- Invest locally
- Create opportunity for our youth, and believe in them
- Hold community events
- Encourage participation from all of the community – volunteer
- Help the homeless
- Be positive and outcomes focused
- Be inclusive
- Establish a youth forum
- Opportunities to build networks and relationships
Mr Lowrey enjoyed the discussion and said, “One of the things that stood out to me in our discussion about the future of Innisfail, was the importance of being positive and connecting more with groups and sharing ideas – collaboration will help us move forward. Next year, I’d recommend businesses to definitely come and share ideas, the more people we can meet the better.”
The College plans to continue the Industry Breakfast as an annual event.