I don’t think I’m unusual in being pleased whenever a friend or business acquaintance appears on TV or radio. My little inner voice immediately shouts out ‘It’s YOU!’ So naturally I was pleased when I heard Nikki King, the forthright award-winning boss of Isuzu Truck (UK) speaking on ‘Broadcasting House’, the Sunday morning news magazine show on Radio 4.
Along with two other guest reviewers Nikki was discussing stories in the papers and was asked by presenter Paddy O’Connell whether she agreed with one which stated that most school leavers were ‘unemployable’. Her response was that, in the main, they were. Nikki listed their poor concentration levels, the fact that they’re not good task ‘completer/finishers’ (I plan to ‘borrow’ that expression and recycle’ it). And being from the X-Factor generation they often believe that ‘success’ is an instant phenomenon.
Consequently, she added, it can take them up to two years before they could really be said to be contributing fully to their employer. Ring any bells? However, it was her follow-up remark that “Every company should be mentoring at least one school leaver”, that reminded me why she’s never been one to highlight a problem without providing at least one answer to it. What better way for soon-to-be school leavers them to learn about the ‘real world’ of employment and understand what’s expected of them as they prepare to jump into the deep end of adult life? And true to form Nikki is currently mentoring not one but three girls from the local comprehensive----and she tells me she’d be prepared to offer any one of them a job. And the moral of the story? The more you put into training young workers the more you’ll get out of them in the long run.
So if you’ve been looking to recruit a trainee why not call your local secondary school and offer to mentor one of their pupils….you might be surprised what hidden talent there is just waiting to be developed… to your mutual benefit.