Sep 2014 / Company

Published:Barry Gem, Llantwit Major Gem and Cowbridge Gem 

A Welsh teen who landed his first ever job in the catering industry at his first ever job interview found career success after seeking advice from some of the country’s biggest employers beforehand.

Ben Myers was one of just three candidates out of 40 hopefuls chosen to work at the Barry branch of a fast food restaurant after he took part in a multiple telephone, group assessment day and one-to-one interview process.

As such the 17-year-old is among those contributing to an overall drop in youth unemployment – found recently to be falling faster in Wales than elsewhere across the UK – after he says feedback from the likes of Asda and Barclays at a special Employ Me day gave him the edge.

Ben said: “After school I chose to study an apprenticeship with ACT Training and at the same time started looking for paid work to support me when the course ends this autumn, and before I start looking at future options such as applying for college.

“During this time I was encouraged to take part in various group exercises and one-to-one mock interviews at an Employ Me day with companies like Asda and British Gas, which I truly believe gave me the edge when it came to attending the real thing.

“Even though I’d never had a job interview before I think I was a bit calmer and more confident than some of the others and, having been successful in my first ever interview, I’m less daunted by prospect of applying for jobs in the future than I was previously too.”

Trainees from across South Wales met with the Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Ken Skates and corporate representatives from firms including Barclays and British Gas at the Employ Me day held by ACT Training earlier this year.

Those present looked at how individual skill sets can best be matched with the needs of businesses at the event which, owing to its success, is set to be repeated this month (September) with companies including Principality Building Society, Firstsource and Asda in attendance.

ACT Managing Director Andrew Cooksley said such events allow industry leaders, young people and training providers like ACT to contribute to ongoing discussions surrounding the increasing value vocational training holds.

Andrew said: “ACT has training opportunities available with some of Wales’ top employers that are just waiting to be filled, so it is vital that we bring prospective learners and Welsh businesses together wherever possible.

“In particular those who collected their GCSE results this summer may, for the first time, be looking for work instead of returning to education this autumn, and it is vital that our young people are made to feel confident that a bright and prosperous future awaits them.”

Andrew continued: “Making sure this dialogue between learners and key businesses in Wales continues is imperative, therefore, in ensuring youth unemployment figures in Wales continue to fall, with events like the Employ Me day providing us with a great place to start.”

ACT Training is Wales’ largest training provider, providing more than 30 routes to a range of learning opportunities for young people across the country in the form of traineeships, apprenticeships and other vocational qualifications.

The next Employ Me day is due to take place on Tuesday September 9th at ACT Training’s Ocean Park Academy in Cardiff.