‘Corporate Youth’ bridging gap between worlds of school, work
By ANGELA PIDDUCK Monday, July 9 2012
The Leslie-Ann George Training Centre Limited (LAGTC) first started the Corporate Youth programme in 2002 aimed at helping students (mainly form five and six, and university) to bridge the gap between the worlds of school and work.
With 20 years experience in the financial services industry, prior to which she was a nurse, George explained that “the programme does not end with the days or weeks that you attend. We follow students straight through into their first job, and through this network some of them are able to find jobs. Our team helps with choice of subjects for their examinations, as students might be thinking of two or three careers and have no idea which direction to take.”
George noted that applications from youths are usually held back, as some organisations see them as a burden, with no training, so money and time have to be invested into their training. “They don’t have a fighting chance,” said the concerned trainer. “The interviewees are not prepared for the interview, the resume is not done properly, their style of communication is not appropriate for an interview, and dress code usually inappropriate.”
George, who saw this from her position as a manager with a leading financial institution continued, “so that when they enter the workplace, they are very lost and do not know how to operate as part of a team as they just don’t understand the lines of communication.”
Back in 2002, George started by going into the schools and conducting the training, but took a break at the end of two years. She said, “I was dealing with my workload, and no manpower in the training facility, until Anthony O’Brien and Dale Edwards, two young men in the corporate world who understood what was necessary in that area of preparing young people for the world of work, came on board. We launched Corporate 2012 in April this year, inviting young people from different schools, where an honorary Victorian (a female who shows victory throughout her life) who did the programme in 2002 and is now doing her Master’s at UWI, said what the programme had done for her.”
Three three-day symposium on corporate image will take place on July 16, 19 and 24 at the Guardian Life Atrium, Westmoorings, followed by two sleep-in camp meetings at the LAGTC, L’Anse Noire, Toco, to facilitate a more in-depth programme than the day symposiums. Upon completion, participants will receive a certificate, awards for excellent performances and become part of an alumni network.
George did her O’ Levels at Tranquillity Government and A’ Levels at the Polytechnic 6th Form in Mucurapo. She holds a first degree in Business Administration from the University of New Brunswick in Canada, an external Master’s from the Commonwealth Open University in Spain, and is also an Associate in Customer Service, Associate in Insurance Agency Administration, and a Life Underwriters Training Consultant Fellow.
She has been a sales manager at Guardian Life of the Caribbean Limited; director and speaker for Women and Money, an annual seminar on that topic; speaker for Know How To Network; director/speaker Advanced Corporate Planning; and trainer for many other corporate programmes in various companies in communication skills, presentation skills, and corporate image management.
O’Brien, who is very artistic, has worked for years with parents and students on Carnival projects, and a very successful and unique Easter Bonnet parade. He has worked with the Ministry of Education and handles public relations for LGTC. Said 23-year-old O’Brien, “Most times you come out of school, not sure what you want to do, this programme is designed to find the true you, what you really want to do in life.
Also you find yourself always having to go for help with a resume and cover letter as this is never taught in school, so not only will this information be valuable, but also getting training that would decrease the amount the company would put out for training. “Basically, nobody corrects you so you learn the hard way, you don’t know how to dress, we believe knowing all these things would benefit both student and organisation. As young people, we set goals, have all these things in our minds but don’t know how to prioritise to achieve our goals and sometimes parents don’t even know so (LAGTC) is saying here’s a programme where you can send your child for all-round development,” he said.
As marketing director (LAGTC), Edwards, who did some marketing while becoming a certified graphic designer “straight out of St James Secondary”, is employed with Oodles Financial Services Limited, as manager’s assistant, and is very aware how difficult it is as a young person coming straight out of school to get a job, especially when experience is little to none. “They would have better opportunities with ‘Corporate Youth’ teachings to fit into the world of work” he says.
The major objective, however, is to assist students to increase self-esteem and self-confidence, have a sense of direction, feel empowered to be able to use their initiative, and always operate with integrity and excellence. George believes that it is a good stage to also teach them how to manage their finances when they start working.