Fighting fit: The Military students that gave the Sanderson team a lesson or two in transferable skills
Our team is used to presenting to young people, giving them insight into Sanderson, and talking them through the skills and competencies that they need to consider as they move towards their first steps into the world of work.
That was turned on its head when Joss Collins and Elias Ofosu from our London office were invited to attend MPCT’s Military Preparation College in Croydon on Monday, July 19. What they thought was going to be a simple tour of the facilities had the team stunned:
“In my mind I was going to meet some 16–19-year-olds that were doing a course at a military base in Croydon,” remarked Joss, “and it resulted in us being completely blown-away by what we saw.”
The learners training at MPCT attend a weekly routine of both physical activities and curriculum which gives them vocational and skills training, hands-on military training days, physical training, and assessments. Academic lessons are partnered with public-speaking training, leadership skills, and instruction in problem-solving, in order to give students a robust preparation for not only a military career but a solid foundation in life.
“You’re just faced with these guys that are being put through the ringer not only physically, but from an educational point of view and then you see these people at just sixteen standing confidently in front of a bunch of adults they don’t even know and being able to tell their story of who they are, where they have come from, and what their aspirations are. I couldn’t have done that at sixteen.
“It was so hugely impressive. Even one person that was nervous about presenting to the group recovered quickly and with a smile on her face- just gathered herself and carried on with what she had prepared to say.”
The students had prepared presentations and memorised them for the group of twelve people which included not only the team from Sanderson, but also senior members of the military including: Grp Capt Lizzy Nicholl OBE, Head of RAF Recruitment and Selection, and representatives from the police youth engagement team and fire cadets. The presentation skills were impeccable. Joss noted: “Their presentation skills were off-the-charts when compared to mine where I have a PowerPoint to go off and give me guidance- it was all fully prepared and ready in their minds.”
Elias added: “I think a stand-out part for me was when a quartet of students recited Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘If’. It was really an emotional moment.”
The team were further treated to the learners in action and were able to watch their IMF demonstration and drill display. The team were also put to shame by the sheer number of burpees and press-ups that the students could do.
Future talent at MPCT
Only 50% of the cohort studying at MPCT eventually join one of the Armed Forces. Whilst some had a clear direction of exactly where they wanted to go, others were still figuring out their strengths and where their career would take them.
“You really got the impression that the college was not only teaching and training them physically but also helping them emotionally and helping them go through and make an informed choice on where they go after completing the course.”
The transferable skills of discipline, preparation, problem-solving, professionalism, leadership, and good presentation meant that the students were already well-versed in the skills that many learners still need to develop when they first enter the world of work. The students at MPCT had skills that takes new workers months to learn and develop on the job.
One of the outreach functions that Sanderson offers to those about to enter the world of work is a hand with professional conduct, CV writing support and tips, or help with interview preparation. However, it was very quickly apparent that the students at MPCT were already a step-ahead and the team were inspired by the talents of those at the college.
Why is Sanderson outreach so important?
The current conversations in all sectors of employment revolve around the very apparent skills gaps in the market, the want for more candidates, and the need for more diversity and inclusion. Going into schools and colleges is a key part of letting young people know that they are more than capable- no matter their background.
“Many students are reconsidering whether or not they want to go to university,” explained Joss, “we are seeing more young people becoming aware of different forms of education and training- and the career opportunities those offer. Even without university you still have very high-quality people with very transferable skills.
“It’s important to us on a personal level to engage with a section of society that feel like they’ve been knocked back by Covid and give them some of our corporate experience. They might not want to come into recruitment, but we do have lots of contacts in our world that we could go and introduce students to.
“Some of our key clients would be interested in taking on people who want to do an apprenticeship or help them into particular roles. In a candidate-short market everybody should be exploring all options of recruiting new people and taking advantage of the skills they have.
“Punctuality, discipline, confidence, presentation skills- the guys at MPCT will do excellently in the working world. If you can get someone to that point, then you can train them to do pretty much anything.”
The Sanderson team hope to see more of the students at MPCT. With nearly 30 campuses up and down the UK, there are many hubs of budding future talent that Sanderson would like to support going forward into their professional lives.