UBS Bridge Academy

Interview Skills Volunteering by Catherine Coumas and Loanna Katana

On Tuesday, 16th January, Vantage Point partnered with UBS to deliver a high-quality Interview Skills workshop for Year 12 students from the Bridge Academy, a mixed, non-denominational school sponsored by UBS.

Situated in one of the UK’s most disadvantaged areas, Bridge Academy is supported by UBS with the objectives of developing students’ skills and inspiring them to aim high. The ideas behind this initiative are strongly aligned with the Values that underpin Vantage Point’sAdVantage Accelerator Programme, and as such Vantage Point has been passionate about participating in such charity events.

The day involved running mini mock interviews with students, with volunteers providing guidance and support to encourage the students, with the opportunity to practice their interview skills.

The Vantage Point employees below have described what volunteering for the Bridge Academy has meant for them and what they got out of it.

Volunteer Experiences

Catherine Coumas (AdVantage Consultant):

“I volunteered to help deliver a workshop to improve the interview skills of Year 12 students attending the Bridge Academy. The sessions involved presenting mock interview questions to the students, who would then receive our feedback and guidance on their performance.

A lot of the students clearly had the experience and competencies required to pursue further education or apprenticeships, and mainly needed guidance on how to convey their answers in an articulate and professional manner – skills essential for an interview situation.

The experience was enjoyable in ways that I had not initially anticipated, it was great to see the students actively incorporate our feedback into their answers; we saw a real improvement by the end of each session.

I found working alongside the UBS volunteers to provide collective feedback to the students a gratifying and valuable experience in itself. The environment required us to work effectively as a small team before becoming acquainted with one another; we had an instant rapport and energetic dynamic which drove engagement from the students, and enhanced the quality of the feedback we provided.

There were additionally a number of moments where students had not realised the strengths and inherent value in their own answers. To provide encouragement, I highlighted those strengths to them, and I could see this had a positive impact on their confidence – those moments were the most rewarding part of my experience.”

Loanna Katana (AdVantage Consultant):

“As a Graduate Consultant in the early stages of my career, it was both exciting and rewarding meeting AS Level students starting to make decisions about their future. Having the opportunity to sit down and speak with the students was a reminder that whether you’re a student or working professional, interviews can be challenging for all of us!

The students appeared to benefit from working in small groups with several UBS volunteers. It allowed the students to easily address difficult aspects of interviewing, receive feedback and also gain an insight into our own interview experiences.

I enjoyed seeing the student’s confidence grow and consequently they began to open up more as the session progressed. Although completing A Levels can be very demanding, I was truly inspired by their intelligence and passion to succeed in their chosen career path.”

Overall, this experience highlighted the importance of schools like the UBS Bridge Academy and the formidable work which they do with talented young people in our society, from all walks of life. At Vantage Point, we enjoy participating in projects that align with our own ethics and are thankful to UBS Bank for the opportunity to work with them.

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