Two top tips for creating an employable mindset

Sitting in queue for interview

With each brand new exciting project I am involved with, I always make sure that the young people I work with will truly benefit from the workshops and resources that I provide, so that I can eventually watch them progress. In order to ensure their growth, I use two simple techniques to create an “employable mindset”.

A very smart formula

Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time in 1936, a man named Kurt Lewin in his book on psychology published a very smart formula that stated the following:

Our behaviour is a function of ourselves as a person and our environment.

This formula is known as Lewin’s equation and may seem complex but actually what Mr Lewin meant is that our habits and our behaviours do not entirely stem from the type of person we are but also from the environment we are in.

A practical example

Let me give you an example. I have a friend who really likes chocolate and decided that it is time to reduce the amount she eats. As many of us would, she started by just trying not to eat it and of course on many occasions she slipped. Based on this experience she would complain to me that she simply does not have the will power to stick to her resolution so therefore she is doomed.

What my friend did not noticed at first but did discover as time went on was that her environment was full of chocolate! Her friends brought her chocolate, her partner stocked the cupboards with it; her children had it in their pockets!

By simply reducing the chocolate in her environment, she did manage to change her behaviour of overeating chocolate. This is a prime example of Lewin’s equation in practice.

Coming back to employability: tip one

In our industry the first area that Lewin’s formula applies to is the fact that young people assume that being employable or being an entrepreneur is something that people ‘just are’, and that if they do have these skills there is nothing they can do.

The first tip to stimulate a change among young people is to engrave in their minds that soft employability and enterprise skills can be learned and that anyone can learn them.

In psychological wording; you are trying to move young people from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

Coming back to employability: tip two

The second area to focus on is where people working with youth assume that the young people will just pick up certain skills along the way. For example, they organise career fairs without preparing young people for networking, and then complain that the young people behaved in an unprofessional way towards employers. Another example is sending young people for work experience without preparation and then they wonder why the employer is raising queries on day one when they turn up late or cannot work to a deadline.

Following on from this my second tip to stimulate a change among young people is to create an environment where they are exposed to specific opportunities to learn certain skills that will benefit them as they aim to get and sustain a career.

Next steps

There are a number of ways the above tips can be implemented. Some organisations we work with have specific employability skills lessons or tutorials. Others provide work experience preparation workshops, or networking practice sessions. If you are interested in finding out how we can hep you achieve this do get in contact.

Whichever way you choose to do it, creating the right environment for the development of an employable mindset lets you show your young people the benefits of these skills and how they can impact on their future, therefore ensuring that they are able to take advantage of any opportunities that arise.

Written by K Mitura

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