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Apprenticeships 2022

Helping new generations prepare for assessment centres

iStock / Getty Images Plus / Thanakorn Setsatien

Conversations with employers have suggested that they are seeing a higher drop-off rate at assessment centre stage, as Gen Z and Generation COVID become the next cohort in early years recruitment.

Is this trend down to more virtual assessment centres? Do applicants find it harder to see a future at a company virtually? Does a lack of self-esteem due to COVID play a part?

Lack of professional confidence

With careers events and work experience recently being put on hold or completed virtually, we are seeing a lack of professional confidence in young people.

Therefore, to get the most out of applicants, we advise providing as much helpful information in the preparation process as possible, so they can feel relaxed and reassured, for you to see them at their best.

Our top suggestions for improving your preparation process:

  1. Create a video on how to prepare. Share this on socials and email it out before the assessment centre. This content can remain on your website and be shared with each cohort.
  2. Ask a recent apprentice to share their thoughts on the assessment centre and advice on how to prepare.
  3. Hold a pre-assessment centre webinar discussing what to expect.
  4. Make the day as inclusive as possible. What barriers might applicants have? These might include mental health, SEN diagnoses, disabilities, gender identification or family background. How can you help them overcome these?
  5. Many of Generation COVID have not sat any exams, or had the chance to do mock interviews, they are arguably the least prepared for the workplace – and it’s not their fault. Create a relaxed environment so they can flourish.

Many of Generation COVID have not sat any exams, or had the chance to do mock interviews.

Advice on preparation

To further support, we have asked our apprentice ambassadors what they think an employer can do to help applicants prepare:

“Inform applicants who will be interviewing them. This will encourage more personalised research and increase chances of impressing!” says Euan Wilcox, Service Designer Apprentice.

“Hold online sessions explaining the firm, the role and assessment advice. This also gives the opportunity to ask questions outside of the interview setting.” says Harriet Myers, Customer Supply Chain Apprentice.

“Provide a breakdown of activities, so candidates are able to prepare before. Be clear on what to bring and specify dress code.” says Lucy Watts, Food Science Degree Apprentice.

“Encourage applicants to ask for feedback on applications/research, so they know what to improve ahead of the assessment.” says Victoria Coldicott, CAD Engineering Apprentice.

So, now you have some useful insights into our expert opinion on assessment centres. What is your opinion, will they ever be the same again?

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