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The Real Conversation

Posted by DanielleNicole15 from Cardiff - Published on 21/06/2012 at 16:24
0 comments » - Tagged as Education, Festivals, Food & Drink, Topical

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Employment today. A bit of a joke, right? Surely, we can all agree that it’s like a mission trying to find a job today, let alone find the job that we have always dreamed of having since childhood. Personally, I have strong opinions about employment today, with the perspective of an aspiring journalist, who is hoping to fulfil that aspiration in the upcoming years. The Real Conversation event gave me, as well as others like myself a chance to discuss employment and touch upon the topic of education, with people of my age, as well as employers.

The Real Conversation itself was held in the Mercure Hotel, a grand four-star hotel, near the city centre of Cardiff. The event began at 3:15pm, where the hotel staff greeted us and took us into a small room upstairs. We were faced with what the evening called ‘light refreshments’, which actually seemed more like a meal! There was a platter of burgers, pizza, salad, fruit, tea, coffee, etc. and it was great! The small room was packed with people of all ages, some wearing smart suits and others in casual wear. The way people were dressed made it fairly easy to differentiate between the employers and young people there.

After a few ‘light refreshments’, we were then taken into another room full of pink chairs in rows, where everyone sat in random order. Two people working for a company named Emotive Matters greeted us, helping us to engage in a hip-hop workshop as a warm-up session for the evening. The workshop itself appeared rather random to begin with, as surely hip-hop and the history of it had nothing to do with employment or education?

However, the workshop itself was primarily concerned with discussing what ‘matters’ to young people. In this case, employment was discussed through the medium of rap, appealing to the younger audience. As a group, we learnt about different types of rap and beat-boxing. We also formed a rap together, with the main subject of it being employment, which we rapped together as a group. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, whilst also learning that the words "Boots" and "Cats" can form a simple beat box! Adding to this excitement, some people opted to try out the DJ decks there that were used in the workshop.

After this entertaining ‘warm-up session’, we were escorted to the main part of the hotel. We were then welcomed by more food again! However, now, there was a different selection of food to choose from, such as pasta and petit, cylinder-shaped cheesecakes of all flavours, which were delicious (I’d recommend the raspberry one)!

So, after the ‘light refreshments’, warm-up session, and even more food, we were taken to the venue where The Real Conversation was to be held. Each person was given a separate table number, by which having to sit with people that we were not acquainted with. This seemed slightly daunting to begin with, but everyone was soon introduced to one another, on circular tables, seating around ten people. Around each table sat a mixture of people, including young people and employers. The room in which the venue was held was grand, with what seemed hundreds of seats and circular tables. All you could see around you was people, people and more people, as well as the purple dcor of the huge room and bright lights. There were also huge projection screens that could be viewed at the front of the grand hall. Each person was given a tiny keypad, by which to answer the questions that would be asked later on in the evening.

To begin, we were greeted by our hosts, Sarah Dickins and Sam Ebenzer (representing the younger people at the event). Our hosts thanked us for coming to the event, and introduced Andrew Clark, Deputy Director for Higher Education & Further Education Policy in Welsh Government. Andrew Clark gave us an overview of the Welsh Government, telling us certain things about employment today. For instance, he explained that 87,000 employers contracted employee surveys, finding out that too many young people have skills that employers are not looking for. After this, we were given a selection of practice questions to answer, using our keypads.

We were then shown a clip of how the media portrays the youth of today negatively in relation to employment, giving them a less-appealing image to employers, as well as de-motivating young people who are motivated to look for work.

We were then asked a selection of questions using our keypads, such as "Which skill is most important in a working environment?", with which we were given a multiple choice of answers to chose from. The questions relied on our own perception of the question; therefore there wasn’t a specific answer to each question. Once the results of each question were viewed on-screen, we discussed the questions on our tables, learning that sometimes the view of the young person and employer differed.

A good element of the event was that it catered to people with different levels of confidence. For instance, we were encouraged to tweet and text in our views on employment/education, which were read out at regular intervals. This encouraged people that weren’t so confident to speak out within their small groups to communicate their feelings in a less intimidating sort of way, as such.

We were asked a total of six questions and looked at three clips and discussed them as a group.

Once each question had been discussed, we heard an employer’s response, from James Taylor, the managing director of SuperStars. Taylor gave us an inspirational talk about looking for a job. He also discussed how people such as David Beckham have succeeded in following their dreams, even though we may not even think twice about people such as Beckham. Taylor concluded that a number of things are essential whilst looking for a job. For instance, one must have good communication skills, past work experience, a good work ethic and commitment to their own personal development to even stand a chance of getting a job.

To end the evening, we had an audience discussion about employment and education, whereby people had the chance to speak in public about their views on these topics. The good thing about this, was that most people who answered in the audience discussion were representing TheSprout! This was great!

Overall, I think one of the main things that everyone learned from the event is that sometimes experience is actually more essential than grades themselves. Also, I learned that young people today appear reluctant to follow their childhood job dreams, as inevitably, people are concerned with being too ambitious, in the worry of not finding a job whatsoever. However, as said by the famous Walt Disney, and brought to our attention by James Taylor, ‘If you can dream it, you can do it!’

If you didn’t have the chance to attend The Real Conversation, have your say by tweeting your thoughts with the hash tag #RealConversation or you can tweet @therealconvs!

News  Categories  Education

News  Categories  Food & Drink

News  Categories  Work & Training

Info  Employment & Training  Getting a job

Info  Education  Post 16 Education  Work Experience

Info  Employment & Training  Apprenticeships and Training

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