Fenlander: Poor job applications and inappropriate behaviour at interview make it hard to recruit locally, conference told

POORLY completed job applications and inappropriate behaviour at interviews are making it very hard for businesses to employ local people.

That was the brutally frank message delivered by Nicola Rose to more than 50 business leaders and education providers at last week’s Skills Summit in Wisbech.

Ms Rose, human resources manager at Fenland Leisure Products (FLP), said her company had found it increasingly difficult to recruit local people because of “strong failings” in applications and at interviews.

Poor applications included “forms incomplete or not completed on time, or coffee-stained, screwed up and ripped – my list could go on,” she said.

“Interview failings include lateness, poor appearance and dress, swearing and even no knowledge of what our company is or what the position entails.”

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She added: “We desperately need to see a bank of people ready to face the challenges of work. No young person should be left leaving school not knowing how to apply for work and what to expect at interview.”

FLP was one of many leading businesses who attended the Summit at the Boathouse.

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In his opening speech, Councillor Chris Seaton, Fenland District Council’s portfolio holder responsible for skills and job stimulation, said: ”Improving skills levels is one of the council’s most important priorities. We know that if they improve, people’s standard of living will improve, their reliance on public services will decrease and their contribution to society will increase.” FDC and its partners were working hard to ensure that Fenland didn’t get left behind as other areas of the country recovered from the economic downturn, he said.

Much of the discussion during the day centred round the new Fenland Enterprise in Education (FEE) project, which aims to forge much closer links between schools and businesses. Delegates gave a warm welcome to the project, which has been set up as a direct result of the feedback from the first Skills Summit, held last year.

Among the issues raised during group sessions were the need to provide better opportunities for young people to learn about life in the workplace. Two weeks of work experience were too often no more than a “box-ticking” exercise.

The Summit was sponsored by FDC, the Fenland Schools Partnership, the College of West Anglia and the Cambs Times/Wisbech Standard.

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