School leaver programmes need special approach….

The fast-growing pool of school leaver recruitment initiatives are too often turned over to managers of graduate recruitment programmes to run when the requirements for each differ significantly, a group of executive and professional services recruiters heard yesterday [30 April 2014].

But the trend for companies investing in school leaver programmes is overall a positive one. Organisations are adding opportunities for young people without degrees in parts of their businesses to which early career access had typically been limited to graduates, said Karis Stander, talent business development manager for the skills champion and charity, Financial and Legal Skills Partnership.

School leaver and apprenticeship programmes are “definitely an area of growth” in blue-chip businesses such as banks, management consultancies and insurance, Stander said.

At the same time, a number of employers in the financial and legal skills sectors are formulating and launching their own school leavers learning and career development offerings when they find that certain apprenticeship programmes “are not appropriate” to the roles and disciplines of their businesses, Stander said.

Among the challenges they face in delivering credible programmes for the school leaver population are managing to clearly inform their target audiences about where the experience will fit into and help them build a career, and knowing their target audience.

“That doesn’t mean a big smiley face picture of a woman on the front page of your brochure if you want to reach women,” Stander said. “It means giving out key messages that turn women on.”

An example might be emphasising the diverse responsibilities of a certain job instead of how much money could be made.

Stander was speaking to a Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) sector group meeting in London of the combined Association of Executive Recruiters, Financial Services and Legal & HR sector groups.