“I’d give them a job tomorrow.”
That was what one boss said when 150 students were presented with ‘passports’ proving they’d gone the distance on a two-year work experience programme - launched after employers complained school leavers were not ready for work.
Youngsters from 13 Sheffield schools worked in a range of companies where they were encouraged to take part in every aspect of the business.
Mentored by bosses, the aim was to teach them a huge range of in-demand skills including determination, critical thinking and a willingness to take responsiblity.
They were presented with Passports to Employment at a ceremony at the Cutlers’ Hall in Sheffield.
Master Cutler David Grey said: “Qualifications are really important.
“They initially get you through the door but, after that, employers need evidence of competence, adaptability, communication, creativity and teamwork - all things which you have experienced over the past two years and which will stand you in good stead for your future employment.
“You will see your strengths and your weakness in your passports. Work on these. Push yourselves.
“We live in a very competitive world so make sure that you have the right skills and attitude to stand out from the crowd.”
Two ambassadors, Abbey Metcalfe and Mbachi Kambele, gave brief talks on their experience.
George Kilburn, chief executive of the Cutlers’ Company, said: “If evidence were needed that this programme is working, it was demonstrated in those two speeches.
“The audience was impressed and one employer caught the mood when he was heard to say, ‘I’d give them a job tomorrow’.”
Twelve gold passports were awarded to those who were outstanding in their sector: NHS - Kashif Mahmood, Madeleine Swannack, Sasha Clapham; computer science - Amy Jo Laycock, Rachel Brunt, Rob Furniss; retail - Abbey Metcalfe, Hailah Dhalai, Sheridan Oates; engineering - Riley Steer, Elliott Stork and Mbachi Kambele.