YEAR 10 pupils at Ilkley Grammar School have been taking part in mock interviews to prepare them for the world of work.

The programme aims to build self-awareness and confidence in students, enabling them to make informed decisions for their Post-16 pathway.

Karen Mitchell, Careers Leader at Ilkley Grammar School said: “The event was certainly very different this year; making these interviews virtual ensured the process actually provided a more realistic experience of the workplace today, which is undergoing a digital revolution.

“The student interviews were based on their online application form which was submitted last month and the virtual interview provided them with the opportunity to practise new skills needed for an on-screen interview.

“Feedback from employers, colleges and universities suggests that screen interviews will continue and be the initial format of many future interviews. By embracing technological change as a Careers Team, and encouraging students to be ‘future-proof’, we aim to prepare students for the wider world after Ilkley Grammar School.

“Although many students initially considered this a potentially daunting experience, we were impressed and very proud of how they rose to the challenge with maturity.

“Taking them out of their comfort zone, but in a controlled environment, allowed them to develop their confidence and raise aspirations.”

Careers Governor, Melanie Kirkbride once again invested her time by supporting these interviews, along with Stuart Hyde, IGS Business Enterprise Adviser who said: “It was an honour and a most rewarding experience to assist with the mock interviews again. Having had my main career, it is so good to give a little back and help students have as real an interview as possible in a safe environment.”

Interviewer feedback was very positive.

Bess Sturman, of Sturman Interiors said: “Always enjoyable. And I think a great initiative for students to experience.”

Jonathan Wearing of Ison Harrison, said: “Congratulations on achieving what I felt was a very useful and worthwhile exercise in very difficult circumstances. Just as an observation – every one of the students I interviewed were superb and credit to the school. They would have all been offered the job!”

Sally Shelton, of Clip ‘n Climb is both an interviewer and parent. She said: “This was a heart-warming experience for me. All my interviewees really tried their best and managed all the additional pressures of doing everything online. Karen Mitchell and her team did an outstanding job to co-ordinate a whole year group to have the experience of a real-life style interview with real business people from Ilkley and surrounding area.”

Richard Hayden, of Sevensun and Ilkley BNI said: “I’ve offered one student some work, he’s got a great little business going.”

Many local businesses took part in the process and Karen added: “Grateful thanks to the continued support and expertise provided by these businesses, which is greatly valued and appreciated.”

If you are interested in finding out more about how you could support the careers programme email