"After hearing from Past Master Ian Ball about Livery Schools
Link and its work, particularly, within Inner London schools, I
decided last summer that it was something I would like to be involved
with. Having been fortunate in life, giving something back to those
less fortunate is very stimulating.
The organisers of Livery Schools Link have brought together a number
of volunteers from many different backgrounds to work with students
aged 15 and upwards with the preparation of CV's, job/sixth form
applications and interview techniques. After I had registered with
the Link my name was put forward to facilitate in a number of Inner
London schools in the Islington area.
My first assignment took place in December at the Islington Green
School, where a whole day was spent with some thirty facilitators
and one hundred and fifty students working side by side. The students
were broken up into groups of about ten with each group working
with two facilitators. The day was well organised and was split
into three one and a half hour sessions.
The first real eye opener for me was to find that we were working
with many children whose first language is not English and who struggle
to write anything but the most basic English. Some students didn't
know what a post code was and, if they did, many didn't know their
own. Slowly but surely, and with considerable patience, we started
to make progress.
Perhaps the most difficult aspect for the students was writing
a personal statement. Trying to draw them out, in order that they
portrayed themselves in the best light proved to be difficult and
time consuming. What we did discover, with prodding, was that each
of them had something interesting to write about themselves. The
concept adopted for teaching interview techniques involved the students
interviewing each other. Whilst fine in principle, this approach
didn't really work because none of the students could keep a straight
face. So we resorted to conducting interviews ourselves, which proved
to be much more productive.
By the end of the day we had made considerable progress. It was
hard work but very rewarding and hopefully some, if not all, of
the students will now find it easier to complete a CV, apply for
a job and attend an interview."