Claire Granados, Principal at Quest Professional, a business college focused on equipping A-level and university leavers with the business acumen, employability and interview skills required to fast-track aspiring students into the world of work, discusses what to do if your child doesn’t have a place at university this year, and the key skills that will give them the edge over their university peers…
In the build-up to A-level exam results the pressure is on for students to confirm their post-school destinations. With 91% of independent school leavers attending university, making sure your child has a place at an elite Russell Group institution can be viewed as the level of attainment to which all students and parents should aspire.
Though we certainly should admire those students attending such universities, this view that university is the only route to success urgently needs to be challenged. Dynamic youngsters may want to enter the professional world immediately and begin their journey up the corporate ladder rather than study for a further three years.
At Quest Professional we work with employers whose top priorities when recruiting are the skills and talents of a candidate rather than a university qualification. Helping your children gain these practical skills may be far more valuable for their future career than encouraging them into further study.
For ambitious students the top skills that will help them gain the edge are:
- Sector awareness
Top of the list for businesses is sector awareness. Candidates who can demonstrate a good awareness of the business and wider marketplace will always impress an interviewer. Knowledge of a company’s main competitors, their threats to expansion and governing principles will also move candidates to the top of the hiring list.
- Communication skills
Effective communication skills don’t just mean being well spoken in an interview – it also covers strong presentation skills, audience awareness, the ability to communicate as part of a team and relay information concisely. Developing and honing these skills before entering the workplace will ensure that students are able to confidently begin their careers and achieve success from the outset.
- Time management
Teaching students to prioritise tasks, not be chained to emails and to meet multiple deadlines is another skill which cannot be gained solely through essay assignments. Top candidates will be able to demonstrate that they can cope with multiple tasks as well as perform under pressure.
- Team-working skills
Skills such as communicating with colleagues and reporting to superiors are essential in business. Gaining these skills early in their careers and even in school will give young employees an edge over graduates who lack these talents. Demonstrating that you are a good team player as well as polite, personable and enthusiastic to progress will impress managers – and mark students out as future candidates to move up the corporate ladder.