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#YourShout: Getting by, getting on, getting good: CAVC questions Part 2

Postiwyd gan Sgwarnog_9394 o Caerdydd - Cyhoeddwyd ar 13/10/2015 am 13:50
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TheSprout has teamed up with the the Cardiff Partnership for a series of interviews with the leaders of Cardiff's main institutions, and this week we interviewed the Principal of Cardiff and Vale College (CAVC), Mike James. This is part 2, and you can read part 1 and 3 here.

MJ - Mike James

Work experience

theSprout: In today's marketplace it is essential that our young people can gain valuable work experience alongside their academic achievements, what are we doing to ensure that they have access to this?

MJ: We joined a group called Gazelle, which is a group of 17 colleges that focus on technical and personal skills. So, we encourage staff not just to talk about the standard 2-week work placement, but encourage students to get Saturday jobs. We're trying to condense the timetable to 3 days a week so that students can work the remaining 2 days and encourage the students to get out there and get known and get the right mind set as well as the skillset.

What this means: Work experience means more than just a week working in a shop, CAVC's timetables allow you to get ahead in the working world.

theSprout: Current law allows for the under 16s and under 18s in the workplace to be paid considerably less than their older colleagues for doing the same job, and as such can put younger people off taking paid work. What are we doing to ensure there are sufficient incentives to gain workplace experience? Are companies being given any incentives to address this situation?

MJ: The Welsh Government work really hard to provide traineeships and opportunities to incentivise employers to take on young people. I do think that young people, in some instances, earn considerably less than their older colleagues, and I don't agree that that should be the case. I suppose there is some method in the madness - if you're a trainee accountant, you obviously won't earn the same type of money as a more qualified accountant. I think the apprenticeship wage needs to be looked at, and I think we need to look at how we can offer working with businesses a far more realistic wage for apprentices. The current mandatory wage seems a bit measly, and we try to use our apprenticeship grant with those companies who look after their employees and pay them a decent wage. Apprenticeships are about reinvesting your company, not cheap wages.

What this means: apprenticeship wages need to be fairer, and can often be the best way to get ahead in your career.

Preparing young people for work

theSprout: How are we preparing people for employment in the new skills economy?

MJ: We're very aware of where the 6 or 7 key demands are (these include STEM and Creative Culture) so we're trying to reinvest in our business but provide the right skillset to do other things. We offer progressive job opportunities to get them into the world of work and get themselves stable and then provide support to find their ideal job. So I think it's a bit of a mixed economy?

What this means: CAVC are working with businesses to get you the best opportunities to get on in your career.

theSprout: The employment market now relies almost entirely on the internet, for example online job-searching, digital CV libraries and social networking. What can be done to ensure that school leavers at all stages are equipped and capable to look for work in this environment?

MJ: What we're finding is that each new influx of students is completely computer literate. I've seen students in the canteen designing and creating apps, not just using them. Our younger audience are fully aware of the technology and for us it's about trying to work out how we engage ourselves into their world of technological development and the employers that expect it from them. We need to engage with people like REED and other employment agencies that are online to use it in our own infrastructure so that students can access it at college.

What this means: You're expected to use technology every day in the workplace, so we're embracing it. There are online resources out there to get you into work.

theSprout: In an environment where it is perceived that an unprecedented number of graduates are filling "unskilled" jobs and are not working in their qualified academic field, how can we encourage young people into higher or further education?

MJ: I would encourage young people to get as many skills as they can, and if they can do that while being in work at the same time, then there's nothing wrong with that. I think that Further education and higher education should work together. I think they should work out what you're really passionate about and find out what you're really interested in.

What this means: You should go to university if you enjoy the subject, and work to get skills if you want to get by in a specific career.

If you want to talk to someone about your career, exams or anything else, then remember that Meic are just one click, text (84001), or call (080 880 23456) away.

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Picture: Charly W.Karl via Creative Commons

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