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This year, 234 students in Year 10 were given the incredible opportunity of receiving a mock interview by local business people. The huge event was organised at Frome College and ran on Wednesday 14, and Thursday 15 March. The event was publicised, and members of the local community were invited to interview via newspaper articles and tweets; Marilyn Dorrington was instrumental in drumming up support from both of the Rotary Clubs in Frome.

These young students aged only 14 and 15, received a presentation about the importance of a good CV in the autumn term. They then had a tutor activity, where they looked at their extra-curricular activities and thought about what skills they had gained from each of them. Some were surprised to learn that their football hobby encompassed gaining skills in team working, communication, commitment and leadership. A presentation was then given to the year group about the different sections in a CV - what to include, and how to emphasise their skills. Students then spent 3 subsequent tutor times in IT rooms drafting out their CV.  At times it can be hard for one tutor to give individual help when overseeing 30 students, so the local Rotary groups came into a school session to provide extra support. After the students had produced their first draft, their CV’s were marked by business people and further improvement suggestions were added.

The CV’s were returned to students who were asked to make the suggested corrections and improvements at home.
Students also received a presentation about how interviews work, the importance of handshakes, body language, engaging effectively with the interviewer, giving comprehensive answers, and selling themselves to the employer. Before interview, they had opportunities to practice interview questions in pairs.  The groups were encouraged to think through key words to describe themselves, how to answer tricky questions, such as ‘What would you say is your greatest weakness?’  The answers also demonstrate how they had worked to overcome weaknesses, and thinking through qualities to highlight which would impress the interviewers. 

Thirty minute interview slots were allocated to each student. Where students knew their career plans, they were matched where possible with an interviewer with experience in that field.  Over 55 members of the local community kindly gave up one or two days from their busy schedules, to help these young students gain experience. Students had time in interview and then returned to receive feedback on their performance. Students were given a feedback sheet to put into their Next Steps folders to explain what went well, and any suggestions they could focus on for future interviews.

The careers available for students to gain their expertise from included: Solicitors, the Army, insurance, illustration, aggregates, financial services, BBC Magazine, nursing, architecture, IT, business, the MOD, engineering, farming, electrical wholesale, radio production, heating, education, estate agency, hockey, anti-terrorism, banking , design, payroll, journalism, the police, stone masonry, town council, building design, toxicology, childcare, property consultants and the water industry.

Peter Smith from the Frome Rotary Club, a key helper from 8 years of mock interviews said “Just wanted to say how well the interviews seemed to go today.  The interviews are providing these young people with something that they will really appreciate as they progress”. Kate Bielby added “We really enjoyed meeting all the students, and were really impressed that they were already starting to think of extra-curricular activities and work experience that would make them stand out from the crowd.”

All the interviewers seemed to greatly enjoy the day, and praise was received about the calibre and friendliness of the students, along with how well many presented for interview despite their young ages. The guests agreed how interesting it was to come inside the College and see it operating. One interviewer went as far as to say, it had ‘restored her faith in humanity’. Some of the students were a little nervous prior to their interview, and Mike Darville from Frome Rotary Club, who was acting as event steward, was simply incredible at interacting with the students and calming any nerves. Once the interview was complete, students leaving the room agreed the process had been good, and really worthwhile.

Louise Friend, Employability Co-ordinator at Frome College stated “On behalf of the College and all the students in Year 10, I would like to extend our gratitude and huge appreciation to all the visitors who helped with the mock interviews. This event takes vast co-ordinating, and could not be provided for such a large number of students without our guests generously giving up their time to provide their expertise and experience for our students.

If you would like to be added to the list for next year’s interviews, or would like to be a guest speaker at one of our Careers Talks, we would be delighted to hear from you. For more information, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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