Human interaction matters

Link4Growth NE London members

At Link4Growth NE London are (left-right) Paul Violet, Jane Walker, Alex Burton, Debra Oakaby and Fiona Flaherty. Pic credit: Michael Bird

Career development coach Debra Oakaby discusses ways to stand out in the job market

Building relationships with people face-to-face or by telephone is still essential for business and for people seeking work, even in this digital age.

Talking to a real person beats talking to an automaton, which can be frustrating and unsatisfactory.

Good interpersonal skills are somehow assumed or taken for granted but a number of people struggle to make a good impression at job interviews. Indeed, potential employers are more likely to offer training if you do not have all the skills they require, rather than choose a candidate with a poor attitude.

According to the Prince’s Trust MacQuarie Youth Index 2015 that surveyed more than two thousand 16-25 year olds, “more than half of unemployed young people feel anxious about everyday situations, with many telling us they avoid meeting new people and struggle to make eye contact”.

In Waltham Forest we know that youth unemployment has been falling since 2013, nonetheless the lack of social skills among young people in general, is of concern.

Overall, the above index reports that “the confidence young people have about the future is at its lowest level, matched only in 2011”.

The nature of work has changed irrevocably with rapid technological advancements and having good technical skills is not enough. Employers are looking for soft skills too, such as the abilities to get on with other people and adapt the way we behave in order to secure better outcomes and this usually comes with experience.

Having a Chamber of Commerce in Waltham Forest would help to bridge the gap between local businesses and communities, by providing more opportunities for people seeking employment or wanting to start a business.

It would also help to inform and signpost relevant information for residents as well as promoting the local economy.

In the meantime, the challenge is getting young people talking to those who could potentially help them either now or in future. How do you get young people feeling good about themselves because they have been able to help someone else, not to mention the community too?

That’s where Link4Growth NE London comes in. As a social enterprise they help regenerate local communities by enabling people to meet others in an informal way, share knowledge and expertise, establish new contacts and support one another.

There are currently three groups that meet regularly in the borough, with bases in Chingford and Walthamstow. Both are free to attend.

You will find Link4Growth NE London with a stand at the Waltham Forest Adult Learning Service Jobs Fair on Thursday 17th September, at the Adult Learning Centre, 97 Queens Road, Walthamstow. Go and talk to them and find out how they could help you.

Debra Oakaby is a volunteer leader at Link4Growth NE London. To find out more visit www.facebook.com/L4G.NELondon or email chingford@link4growth.biz. Go to www.lbwfadultlearning.co.uk to find out more about Waltham Forest Adult Learning Service.

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