In the last week of October a group of Year 9 and 10 students from Benalla P-12 and FCJ College braved one of the great workplace challenges – job interviews! The mock interviews were the final activity in a work readiness training program, facilitated by Tomorrow Today.

The Great Start to Work program enables students to learn from local business people about employer expectations, work safety issues, employee roles, and rights and responsibilities in the workplace. The opportunity to participate in mock job interviews is a highlight of the

program.

This year the program was adapted to comply with COVID-19 pandemic guidelines. Usually run in small groups at Tomorrow Today, the 2020 program was offered via one-on-one outdoor ‘walk and talks’. After meeting at a local café for a take-away hot chocolate, students and the program facilitator would head toward the Lake Benalla walking track for an hour-long discussion aimed at helping prepare young people to enter the world of work.

“We know that most teenagers are pretty social. After months of remote learning many have screen fatigue. We wanted to find a way to continue to run our workplace training, even in a lockdown situation,” explained Tomorrow Today’s Executive Officer, Rosie Koop.  

Students were able to meet up with each other during workplace visits to Target, Rustik Café and Bertalli’s Bakery. “These visits gave students the opportunity to see how businesses operate, from the inside. We are extremely grateful to the 13 local businesses that supported the program in 2019-20,” said Ms Koop.

Ms Koop says that research indicates that students who engage in paid part-time work while at school develop skills that make them more likely to be employed when they finish.  “Obtaining an after-school job develops young people’s confidence and responsibility. It also gives them some financial independence. A major emphasis of Great Start to Work is to encourage our young people to continue their school studies and to plan their future directions.”

Great Start to Work participant, Ruby, engaged in mock interviews with CVGT’s Matt Green.
Great Start to Work participant, Tarquin, was supported by his family.