Week 7: Empowering Employability
The idea behind this session was to equip our participants with essential employability skills and support their confidence to tackle interviews to the best of their abilities. Joined by the amazing Nova Arkney, a sales specialist who has worked with the core Pivot team, our volunteer team and programme cohorts in years gone by.
We began by checking in as a group, going around one by one and sharing one word on how everyone was feeling. We then did a grounding exercise that was led by Sabella, who took the group through mindfulness and deep breathing techniques. We then did another round of check-ins to see if any felt any different or calmer - unsurprisingly those few minutes of focusing on the breath and feeling into different parts of the body had a big and positive effect on everybody.
Nova led the group through the first activity: Strength Check! All the participants were encouraged to text a friend they trusted deeply to share 3 personal strengths of theirs. Some of the words that came through from friends were: Caring, Supportive, Friendly, Funny. Everyone seemed uplifted by what their friends had shared about them and gave them a spring in their step for the day.
Whats in a Name?
Story of a Name is an activity that Nova led us through next to encourage active listening between the group and sharing personal history, family and feelings about oneself. She guided the group to go around one by one and share their full names, giving the story of their name. Who are they named after? A grandmother? Royalty? Does it have deep ancestry within the family? Do they like their name?
Strengthening Skills + Building Confidence
The aim of the afternoon was to strengthen pre-existing interview skills and explore where more support could be needed. We signposted participants on where to find UK employment rights online and then focused on interview preparation.
We practiced answering challenging but frequently asked interview questions such as "Tell us about a time you had a disagreement with a colleague” and “...you overcame a difficult challenge”, as well as dissecting the motivations and looking deeper into the ‘needs’ behind interview questions in order to support the participants to interview as best as they can.
We looked at flipping personal weaknesses into strengths - which is no mean feat for anybody! Traits such as ‘laziness’ could be flipped into ‘innovative’ and ‘problem-solving’, for example. It was a challenge to adapt thinking like this, but realising that weaknesses aren’t all negative, and also that it can be dependant on what the work environment in question is like!
The second half of this week’s session was dedicated to working with acetate! Led by Jason our Lead Maker, the cohort deepened their understanding of our upcycled material, acetate, that gets donated to us by Cubitts. In two weeks from now, the group will be facilitating a 4 hour session to some of the heads of The Goldsmiths’ Centre and Goldsmiths’ Company, demonstrating their newly acquired skills and confidence in jewellery making. How exciting!