Careers Opportunities in Retail Banking | Development Advice Guidance - Information & News From Your Career Guide

Work experience

Star ‘Apprentice’ Gabrielle Omar urges young people to embrace work experience and gear up for the world of work

A-level results have been released across Scotland. Youth unemployment is still worryingly high, and young people leaving school or university today face a world of work for which many are ill prepared, and which most find it hard to break into.

As school leavers agonise whether they should go to university, or get a foot on the employment ladder as early as possible via a new-style apprenticeship or other type of school leavers’ programme, Gabrielle Omar, star of the most recent series of the TV-reality show The Apprentice, believes the solution is two-fold, businesses need to reach out to young people, and young people need to get pro-active and seek out opportunities to gain experience.

"Whether they decide to go to university or not”, says Gabrielle, who is an architect herself as well as a trail-blazing advocate for good design, "employers will welcome young people getting experience of the world of work. I am surprised how little many young people know about it. I worked throughout my studies, and was proud to do so.”

"Young people need to go to the trouble of doing a little research and contacting employers in areas which interest them. On the other hand, businesses could do so much more to show young people the incredible range of opportunities available, which could be theirs for the taking.”

"The ways in which staff acquire the skills they need”, continues Gabrielle, "are in many cases changing to adapt to new business requirements. Most careers nowadays require both academic study and practical experience, and new vocationally-based routes are emerging into many industries, including new styles of apprenticeships, also in white collar jobs, as well as other kinds of school leaver programmes.”

"All businesses need fresh blood, and in our fast-changing economy, in which markets and customers are becoming increasingly diverse, far-sighted employers are seeking to recruit as from as wide and diverse a base as possible.”

"Contact needs to be made earlier. A high quality work experience placement or internship early on can benefit both employers and young people. An employer can build a relationship with a young person, which it may turn to its advantage at a later stage, when a well-informed and motivated young person decides to join the company or firm. The young person gains valuable experience, whether or not this turns out to be their chosen career route.”

From someone who never seems to run out of energy, Gabrielle’s message to young people wanting to get a foot on the job ladder is clear: get active and get out there.