Monday, May 15, 2017

TARGETcareers School Leavers' Challenge finalist Ashleigh Stent shares her experience at the BT Tower!

 I am very grateful to BT and TARGETcareers that I had the chance to visit the BT Tower in London for the final of TARGETcareers School Leavers’ Challenge. After having completed the online assessment as the first stage on a whim, I am so grateful for my experience and would encourage everyone to have a shot next year!

The first stage of the competition involved completing an online quiz. There was a section concerning situational judgement, where the scene was set and you answered questions about how you would response in certain scenarios. Following this, there was a timed section in which we were asked to answer (challenging) maths questions, mostly about data evaluation. After you complete the tests, you are given a score, placed on a leaderboard and receive an email with tailored feedback concerning your strengths and how to develop them further, possibly entailing evaluations of your team work skills or drive.

I had no expectations about coming anywhere notable on the leaderboard and the challenge had slipped my mind until I received an email closer to the closing date informing me that I was on track to receive a place in the final. Luckily enough, I managed to maintain my place in the top 100 and was invited to the BT Tower!

I bought my train ticket, returned my forms and awaited my trip into London! Luckily, I don’t live too far from London, so I got to leave my house at the time I’d usually leave for school – although I had met people there that had travelled from Northern Ireland to be there. I’m sure we’d all have agreed it was worth the trip even if it was long!

Walking into the BT Tower, you’re immediately met with modern, and artistic decoration of the building – with many interesting adapted telephone boxes around (purple, covered in coins, mirrored – just to name a few). I signed in and awaited the event to start. We were split into groups with different coloured lanyards and within each group had two teams. The activities we took part in were challenging and revolved around teamwork and collaboration. Despite this, each of us were individually assessed throughout on a variety of skills by representatives of various employers. We were being assessed, but the activities were incredibly enjoyable and fun! They were a great chance to work with and connect with the new people I had met in my group. 

Between the activities, we got to enjoy a lovely and tasty lunch, in the revolving part of the BT tower. I got a bit disorientated by the spinning but once I had worked out what was going on, I could focus on and enjoy the incredible views of London!

The highlight of the day for me was a session about personal branding. The session was inspiring, encouraging and motivational. It included a great balance of practical advice relating to careers and more abstract and encouraging ideas about how to express our personalities throughout the work we will undertake during our future careers.

Finally, the award ceremony- I was not for a moment expecting my name to be announced, but it was a great surprise and I am really excited to have the opportunity to attend BT’s Adastral Park Centre!

Everyone I met there seemed to enjoy their day as well as myself and would agree that the experience was encouraging, informative, and exciting! Good luck to everyone who chooses to apply for 2018’s competition and thank you again to everyone who made the day possible.

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