Case studies

Success is at the heart of Step Up. Hear from real students about their experiences.

Preparing students to succeed at interviews

Using the 'train the trainer' approach so that the learning can be shared, Ridgeons staff trained and coached five students at North Cambridge Acadmey to design and deliver an interactive 30 minute session on one of five employability skills for the rest of their class.


Members of the Ridgeons HR team decided on five employability skills, that should be taught to students, based on Ridgeons experience of trying to recruit apprentices. The skills were;

  • -How to research an organisation prior to attending at interview. A proforma worksheet was developed that had a list of company information such as turnover, number of staff, main business, mission statement, values etc.
  • -Examples of good and poor interviews. Two scripted role plays were developed that highlighted good and poor interviews, followed by a discussion.
  • -Interview Practice. A range of typical interview questions were developed and each of the attendees had the opportunity to answer three or four questions, followed by feedback from the rest of the group
  • -How to prepare yourself for interview. A pro-forma was developed to help students self reflect and prepare answers to typical questions they may be asked i.e. ‘what has been your biggest achievement’, ‘what school projects have you been involved in’. Followed by a discussion
  • -How to complete an application form. Examples of good and poor application forms were completed. Followed by each student completing an application form and discussing.

The five selected students spent one and a half days working with 5 Ridgeons staff on a one to one basis, learning one of the five exercises. They were trained in the material and then coached in how to deliver the material to others.

On a pre-arranged day the five students, supported by their Ridgeons colleague, delivered the exercises to twenty five other students in groups of five

Impacts and Outcomes

The outcome for the five selected students was to learn, in depth, one of the five skills, but also to learn how to deliver this as an interactive session for other students. Although nervous, they were supported by Ridgeons staff and it was pleasing to see their confidence grow as they delivered to the other students. The outcome for the twenty five students was the opportunity to learn and practice five employability skills.

Next Steps

In agreement with the school, Ridgeons will be repeating the exercise next year with five new students

Top Tip

Ensure the employability skills chosen represent real examples of recruitment issues with young people. Ridgeons have found that very often they are ill prepared for interview, which is why the five skills were chosen.

Ensure the five selected students are closer to the top performers in the year group. Ridgeons will teach them the material and coach them in delivery skills, but they need to have the ability and aptitude to take that training/coaching on board.

"This was a great opportunity for us to try to help prepare young people for recruitment interviews. It was also good for the staff that took part in helping to develop their coaching skills and being able to commit time to working in the community," said Angela Rushforth, managing director, Ridgeons.