On Tuesday 16th January, RFF Manchester held their BT Bootcamp. The bootcamp is part of an award winning partnership between BT and RFF that has created a work ready programme. This programme supports young people into education, training and employment. It provides a graduated pathway from grass roots engagement to work experience and vocational training within BT.

BT is the largest telecommunications provider in the UK, as well as operating in over 180 different countries globally. Being able to give young people an insight into how an organisation such as BT works is a fantastic opportunity as it opens up and demystifies the work place and helps young people make informed decisions about their future!

The day started by finding out just the vast scope of jobs that you can do in a large company such as BT, many of which you wouldn’t expect. For example the technology innovation at BT; they created the technology that makes your smart phone screen flip from portrait to landscape when you flip your phone and also, they were the brains behind timed traffic light synchronisation! This was to make the point that opportunities in the work place are so varied, and once you get your foot in the door in a large organisation, it could lead you to opportunities you would never expect!

The main focus of the day was looking at enhancing skills for work. This involved thinking about what values were important to the participants. Values include things such as achievement, leadership and money to inner happiness, creativity and freedom. Everybody has a different set of values, and so it is important to know the ones that mean the most to you, and find a job that can match them. This is the best way to bring job satisfaction, we spend a lot of time doing a job, so it is important to find one that suits you!

The bootcamp then went on to look at other ways of finding the right job by looking at what individuals like doing in their spare time, to see if there was scope to find a job in the respective industry. For example, some participants liked to play football. There are many more jobs in the football industry than being a footballer and it is important to remember this and explore  the many options. They then went on to look at acknowledging individual skills. This is something that is really difficult to do, but, by breaking down hard and soft skills, we can start to get an idea of how to talk about ourselves in job context. One good way of uncovering skills is via personality games and tests on the internet such as startprofile.com – give it a go if you are reading this and you aren’t sure of your future career!

One of the directors of BT came to address the group, talking about his inspirational journey from apprentice at the age of 18 to leading a team of 450 employees by the age of 30! He spoke of the importance of a hard working mentality over talent and to set yourself goals. The second half of the bootcamp went on to educate the participants on what to do once they have an idea of what kind of job they want to apply for. This involved how to tackle the application process alongside CV writing hints and tips. They then went on to look at all important interview tips, such as the importance of preparation and how to handshake properly!! They finished up the day by presenting in groups dragons den style pitches, a scenario that would take place in an assessment centre day.

One of the participants feedback, ‘ I appreciated today, it was pleasant. The team at BT volunteering their time are quality, giving clear perspective and clarity on all things. Fantastic!’

The day was a great success and we can’t wait to see what is in store for the 3 week work placement.  RFF would like to thank our partners BT for this opportunity, we would also like to thank their staff members who volunteered there time to make the day a success and offer an insight into the world of BT. We would also like to thank our funders the Big Lottery!