Willingness to learn is key skill for employable students
STUDENT Employability was at the heart of the fifth annual Skills Summit at South Devon College.
The event, held in the Horizons restaurant, attracted more than 70 business people, who gave up their time to explore the key skills students should have mastered by the time when they leave school or college and enter the world of work.
EXPLORING EMPLOYABILITY: Dennis Parsons, Paul Haigney, Nigel Fenn and Richard Haddock at the 2012 Skills Summit at South Devon College
The speakers included Stephen Criddle, college principal, who emphasised how important these events are as they ‘enable us to talk to local employers to make sure we are matching students’ knowledge and skills with employer needs’.
He said: “With more than 3,000 students aged 16 to 18 years, it is vital that we work together with local businesses to present opportunities and advice that will help the next generation of employees.
“We have a booming apprenticeship programme and we actively seek work experience placements to our students, and we are grateful that so many people came to the summit to share ideas.”
The three other main presenters were Dennis Parsons from Centrax, Richard Haddock from Churston Farm Shop and South West Water’s Nigel Fenn.
Dennis, head of human resources, highlighted how important it is for employees to be passionate and really interested to learn.
“In addition to this, we recruit people who have good communication skills and a strong core capability in spelling, grammar, numeracy and IT skills — but the overall willingness to learn is a real winner,” he said.
Richard Haddock said loyalty, timekeeping and good manners are invaluable assets to any employer, together with speaking clearly and basic reading, writing and maths skills.
Nigel Fenn, from South West Water said: ” We have had 16 apprentices last year and will be taking on 20 next year. Employing apprentices in our workplace proves to be mutually beneficial — they bring new skills and fresh ideas that contribute to our business. We have been very impressed with the continuous support from the college.”
Adele Dawson, head of business advantage at the college who had organised the event was delighted with the quality of the feedback.
“Times are tough in the business world at the moment, but to have so many local people give up their time to help explore ways to help our students was refreshing,” she said.
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