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Employers' support instrumental to mock interview success

Leading employers from across the public sector supported Eastleigh College’s careers team in successfully delivering the college’s first ever online mock interview week.

Interviewers included representatives from Hampshire Police, Royal Navy, Maritime UK, South Central Ambulance Service and Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) as the college’s Public Services students were put through their paces and given the opportunity to practise their interview skills.

The event was organised by Eastleigh College’s SUN Progression Mentor, Becky Parker, who said: “I’m delighted that every single Level 2 and first year Level 3 learner took part, which I feel is a massive achievement. 

“The careers and progression team was determined that our learners received our usual high level of support and guidance, despite the challenges put upon us due to Covid restrictions. It’s great that so many leading organisations stepped up to help us deliver.”

Mock university interviews also took place for learners planning on progressing on to complete a degree, thanks to Rachel Ma, University Solicitor at Sheffield Hallam University who commented that she really enjoyed the experience. 

Becky added: “We’re so grateful to all the employers and universities who volunteered their time to take part. They helped to make this such a beneficial experience for our learners whose confidence was boosted when they were commended for their professionalism, dedication and drive to succeed.”

Brian McDermid, Principal Inspector at Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), said: “All the interviewees were well prepared and I appreciated the fact that they all dressed appropriately for an interview. They were a credit to their teachers and college.”

Level 3 learner, Nick Hewett, has ambitions to join the police and benefited from a mock interview with a retired police officer. He said: “It was a very enlightening and positive experience. It was very helpful speaking to and engaging with an ex-member of the police, and to be able to interact with someone who understands what I am going through and aspiring to be. 

“It was eye-opening and very beneficial. I prepared by researching and practising what I thought I needed to know for the interview, giving me an idea of the key questions likely to be asked during a real interview.

“I was given very good constructive criticism on how to improve my answers and better ways to come across and present myself, which I have taken on board and am working on in preparation for my real-life interviews to join the police.”

Also planning a police career is Lucy Aitchison, who would first like to complete a degree at University of Winchester. She explained: “The mock interview helped me to develop my confidence as I had to think under pressure to come up with suitable answers. 

“The interviewer also gave me lots of information and advice to extend my knowledge in policing, so I have a better idea of what to expect, what sort of questions might be asked and how I can prepare for them.”

Molly Robinson is working towards applying to the fire service and found the formal environment of the interview scenario was particularly beneficial.

“We were told the interview would be formal therefore we had to attend the college dressed in clothes we felt would be appropriate for the situation," she explained. "It gave me a visual representation of what to expect, and the sort of answers I will need to prepare for any future real interviews.”