Elevating young people’s careers

Hinkley Point C teamed up with Weston College this summer to deliver Elevate, a work readiness programme for 16-21 year olds preparing for their future careers.

 

Team values

The two-week programme, exclusively for 16-21 year olds registered with Young HPC, was designed around Hinkley Point C’s Project values – humility, positivity, respect, clarity and solidarity.

Cora Heal, Early Skills Co-ordinator at Hinkley Point C, said: “These are the values and behaviours that employers on the Project, and beyond, are looking for. We devised the course to help attendees identify their strengths and give them practical ways to really stand out.”

The participants have since gone on to explore different educational opportunities and career paths. For example, Joshua Lee has begun studying engineering at Bridgwater College after the programme helped to enhance his skills and inform his future decisions. He said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the Elevate programme and found it extremely helpful, enlightening and a thorough introduction into what I'm aiming for in the future.”

Interactive online programme

Weston College and Hinkley Point C started planning the programme before the outbreak of Coronavirus, and adapted it so it could be delivered online. Cora added: “The programme was written and delivered with so much imagination. There were lots of ways to get everyone interacting, including a treasure hunt task to develop internet research skills. 

“One assignment was a Dragons' Den-style competition to come up with a product or service that Hinkley Point C would really benefit from, and the suggestions, which included a drone-based security system, were really well researched, costed and delivered. The change in the attendees’ confidence and speaking skills by the end was amazing to see.”

As part of the programme, volunteers from Hinkley Point C were invited to talk about their experiences on the Project, to give participants the insider view on working in the construction industry. Attendees heard from an apprentice as well as a team member working on the Mechanical, Electrical and Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (MEH) phase of the construction. The MEH phase is set to create 1,200 jobs and 300 apprenticeships and companies are currently recruiting into key roles as the works ramp up.

Real experience

Emma Hutchins, Training Development Manager, Traineeships at Weston College, said: “Traditional employability programmes focus on how to list your skills or polish your interview technique. We built in opportunities to use the skills and display the values that employers want. Attendees gained real experience by taking part in the programme and they can now talk about the things they did as evidence of their capabilities.”

‘Not covered in any schools’

Feedback from the students who took part in the programme showed they found the programme helpful and engaging. Their comments included:

The programme was very rewarding. It gave me the opportunity to speak to current apprentices on Hinkley Point C and a better insight into what happens on site. It's a great scheme for anyone looking at apprenticeships at Hinkley or even any other related apprenticeships.

I found the course very worthwhile and I learned lots of skills that will be useful in the future. I found the professional communication sessions and the mock interview very helpful.

This is the most I've ever learned about employability skills. It was all very important to know and not really covered in school.

Elevate was good for self-development and getting your foot in the door and helped with interview techniques too. I liked that we got a good insight into what goes on at Hinkley Point C.

Giving young people a step up

Emma said: “The course gave ‘insider knowledge’ into what Hinkley Point C’s values are, as well as that real insight into work. That’s why we called it ‘Elevate’ – because it is that ‘step up’ towards a career.”

Those who took part in Elevate responded to an invitation sent out by Young HPC, which gives people guidance, advice and opportunities to help them work towards a career at Hinkley Point C. Cora said: “Everyone on the programme has left with a path to follow, whether that’s a vocational college course, A-Levels or applying for apprenticeships on the Project. We’re over the moon with how it went, and that we’re helping to prepare young people for their future careers.”

Register with Young HPC

All 10 Elevate participants are part of Young HPC. If you’re aged 16-21 then register for careers guidance and new opportunities like the next Elevate programme. Please note: the next Elevate programme is aimed at 19-21 year olds and will run from Monday 23 November. Visit the Young HPC page for more information.