Stroud and Swindon Building Society impressed with Cirencester College Academy students!
left to right - Graham Emery (S&S), Sam Taylor, Monabil Ali, Martyn Roberts (S&S), Alison Bush (S&S), James Fletcher and Oli Ashforth-Shaw
Career Academy students at Cirencester College were invited to apply for part-time work with the Stroud & Swindon Building Society, who themselves have only recently merged with the Coventry Building Society. Ten students applied for work in their local area branches, attending formal and stringent interviews at the Stroud Head Office.
Graham Emery, Resource Planning Manager for the Coventry Building Society, initiated the recruitment drive specifically with Career Academy students in mind, having been involved with the Career Academies programmes in the Midlands area for the past 5 years. With the full support of the Coventry Building Society, Graham has been working with the Finance Academy and has seen first hand the value that motivated and focused young people can bring to the business.
Graham is a keen advocate of the need to develop students’ interview skills and techniques to promote greater employability, confidence and success. “The process of a professional interview, typical questions, technique and methodology is something that cannot typically be simulated in the classroom only personal experience can truly demonstrate the pressures applicants face”, says Cirencester Career Academy co-ordinator Sarah Lane.
Graham himself works with Career Academy schools and colleges across the Midlands, delivering engaging and motivational talks that provide students with an insight into what employers expectations are in such a daunting environment.
The interview panel at Stroud, headed up by Alison Bush, Recruitment Officer for the Stroud & Swindon Building Society, were particularly pleased with the quality of applicants, saying, “It was a pleasure to meet the students. I was impressed by both the calibre and their enthusiasm. I hope the interview process was of as much benefit to them as the successful candidates will be to our branch network.”
Four students were ultimately offered Saturday work within local branches, although the experience proved to be an excellent learning exercise for all applicants. The successful applicants were then required to attend two morning training sessions to get to grips with their new customer-facing roles in branch.
Martyn Roberts, responsible for Learning and Development at Stroud & Swindon explained, “When I was initially asked to help out and deliver cashier training to support a new group of Saturday staff I jumped at the chance, particularly when I found out that all of the new recruits were currently studying at Cirencester College. I had worked with the college before and had already been impressed with the standards to which they work.”
It isn’t easy getting started at 8.30am on a Saturday morning; however all of the group turned up on time and right from the start were all extremely engaging and interested in what we were all about as a Society. I was very impressed with their knowledge of the Financial Services industry and their desire to learn more about how we work. The sessions that we worked on went incredibly fast and the group kept pace throughout asking lots of questions, and generally getting stuck in. It was a pleasure to be involved in such a project and help to shape not only the future of the Society but also the future of a new generation. I’m sure that all of the new recruits will be an asset to the branches that they will support and I hope that the relationship with Cirencester College continues to blossom.”
For more information about this story or Career Academies at Cirencester College, please contact Sarah Lane at Cirencester College on 01285 653961.