How to get a foot on the career ladder was the focus of a series of talks and workshops for students at City College Plymouth recently. The College’s first ever Enterprise Day, run in partnership with customer service company, Aramark, gave hospitality and catering travel and tourism and business students a real insight into the employability skills employers are looking for when recruiting staff.
Aramark works across the food, facilities and uniforms sectors in 19 countries around the world. It provides catering and cleaning services to the College. Twenty-five of its senior staff hosted the event, representing a range of disciplines including marketing, catering, HR, finance and management.
Five talks ran throughout the morning with discussions on business leadership, branding/marketing, managing costs, employability and health and well-being.
Business leadership discussed what makes a good leader. The students heard from several directors about how they climbed the career ladder and the importance of a healthy work ethic.
The branding/marketing workshop looked at advertising spend in the UK and US, as well building brands, brand loyalty, visual identity and target markets. The students had engaging discussions about the brands they use and why certain products appeal to different people.
Professionalism was a key topic in the employability talk. Students were told about how to make e-mail and user profiles look professional, as well as top tips for writing CVs and learning how to tailor them to impress future employers. They also discussed the interview process and the importance of dressing appropriately, punctuality and questions.
Managing costs was made fun through playing The Chase. Students found out about the average spend in a restaurant and how the industry is changing. A decrease of 10% in spend since January 2013, with wages and food costs going up, sparked lively conversations on how to resolve this issue.
The importance of health and well-being targeted the travel and tourism sector, looking at how to avoid jet lag and exercise while travelling, as well as how to cope with a new climate once you reach your destination.
The day continued with two afternoon workshops - Supplier Work and Food Safety, and Careers with Great Western Trains (GWT). The first workshop discussed cross contamination, the different types of harmful bacteria and the dos and don’ts of food safety. Students were shown Glow Germ and an ultraviolet light to demonstrate how bacteria are spread and the importance of good food safety. The second workshop explored career pathways in the travel industry, the interview process and how to apply for jobs within GWT.
Students were given golden tickets throughout the day for answering questions and completing tasks. The student with the most golden tickets won a free trip with Great Western Trains.
The day concluded in PL1 Restaurant, with guest speakers Justin Johnson and Karen Milner from Friary Mill Bakery. Both former students of the College, they talked about the courses they studied, the value of getting hands on experience and how their careers have progressed since qualifying.
“Enterprise day was a unique opportunity for young people to learn how to stand out from the crowd,” said Chaz Talbot, Academy Manager of Hospitality and Catering. “Here at the College we aim to give students all the tools they need to walk out of our doors and into a career. This event was about helping students enhance their CVs and gain the employability skills employers are looking for. The workshops and talks were designed to show students how to communicate effectively, problem solve and the importance of hard work and flexibility.”
For information on hospitality and catering, business, travel and tourism or any of the courses available, the College is holding Course Information Drop-in on Wednesday 8 March, 4.30pm to 6.30pm, at Kings Road. To find out more go to cityplym.ac.uk/events or call 01752 305300.