Tilly Wright (left) HR Coordination at Godolphin with John Blake (centre), Chief Executive at Racing to School and Dee Garrelli, Head of Operations at Racing Welfare

Newmarket Academy pupils given tough grilling during interview practice

Learning employability skills is a key part of the Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project and a collaboration between charities Racing to School and Racing Welfare, supported by Godolphin, facilitated a special activity offering practical interview experience to a group of Year 10 and 11 students. The event was part of the Godolphin-backed Beacon, which is now in its second year and focuses on engaging pupils with a bespoke programme of learning and careers activity.

The use of mock employer interviews was designed to give confidence and practical tips to 18 pupils from the school, all of whom have either special educational needs or English as an additional language. The interviews were conducted by Tilly Wright, HR Coordinator at Godolphin, Dee Garrelli, Head of Operations at Racing Welfare alongside our Chief Executive, John Blake. Each pupil had chosen two preferred career options that they were interested in exploring and were given the chance to discuss their plans as part of the one-to-one sessions with their interviewer.

Dee Garrelli interviewing a pupil from Newmarket Academy

Reflecting on the experience, John Blake said: “I was massively impressed by all of them, the level they came in at and the preparation that they had done.” On the experience with her group, Tilly Wright thought preparation was key, suggesting: “There were different levels that each of the students were at and some did have difficulty breaking down the questions.”

However, as she explains this was a very positive outcome of the day: “It was a key feedback point for many of them that they can go away and work on in the future.” Adding to this, Dee Garelli hopes that they key thing the pupils took away was that ‘the interview process is not quite as daunting as they were expecting it to be!’

Summarising the day, Ceri Williams, a Higher-Level Teaching Assistant at The Academy, said: “It was so important to offer this opportunity because a lot of students don’t have that experience of a formal interview and a lot of them just won’t get that chance.” She is convinced that an experience like this, for a group with special educational needs and English as an additional language, is doubly important. “Some of them are quite nervous and don’t have the confidence to speak to people, so the fact that they have come in and spoken on a formal basis and gone out with such a positive response is really great.”

The event in early March was one of 30 activities run by Racing to School as part of the Beacon project for the Newmarket Academy and is designed to engage all year groups at the school.

Click here to view the full interviews with Tilly, Dee and Ceri.