Research has shown that school leavers are ill-prepared for live in the world of work.

Business Argus asked local business people what advice they would give someone starting out.

Dan Smith, M4 Property Consultants, Newport

It’s true that many young people are ill equipped for workplace opportunities after they leave school. Those who manage to get into work are often given apprenticeships or do entry level courses, both of which provide the training and skills not always attained at school. Pupils are taught how to pass exams, but not necessarily taught how to work, or what a full time job will ask of them. Even those who go to university and get a degree don’t always have all the skills employees are looking for and still have to do the training that someone straight out of school would have to do. We always plug it, but Young Enterprise provides opportunities and skills for young people, in and beyond school. Even if they don’t go into business, they’ll have more of an insight into the world of work and this will aid them in whatever they go on to do. Finally, all school leavers should be able to demonstrate some work experience, even if this is unpaid. This shows a willingness to work, rather than skills, but many employees now see attitude as equally, if not more important than academic ability.

Kelly Bolderson, managing director, Glamorgan Telecom

If you get invited for an interview, prepare for it. Do your research on the company, the job and also the sector if possible. Companies expect candidates to have looked into what they do, but not everyone does, so it’s a good way to make yourself stand out and impress potential employers.

Leanne Fieldhouse, practice manager, Budget Vets, Newport

We frequently offer work experience placements in all our six branches to school leavers and university graduates to provide them with an opportunity to gain an insight into the daily function of a veterinary practice. By contacting us and asking about coming in to learn about what we do shows good initiative on their behalf. Qualifications are very important and essential for many roles within a specialist industry such as ours but we also require our employees to have a wide variety of practical and customer focused skills which for some are natural and for others must be worked at. Work experience certainly provides an opportunity to gain and learn the practical skills and demonstrate them to potential employers.

Jakko Brouwers, director, Morrello Clinic, Newport

Research, research and research – if you are invited to attend an interview find out as much as possible about the role you are being interviewed for, the company and their industry sector. Coming into an interview with this knowledge will certainly be of benefit to you and possibly work in your favour. Don’t be disillusioned if you are not successful first time. Ask for feedback from the interviewer and use this info to help you prepare for future interviews. The more experience you gain from this process the better you will become and eventually you will be offered a position.

John Newell, director, Kingston Newell Estate Agents, Newport

If you already know what you would like to do as a career whilst still at school, I would strongly recommend that you should make a point of finding out as much about the specific job and industry before you start your job hunt. Find out what skills and qualifications are required and if you can start gaining these at school or elsewhere. Obtaining qualifications and awards from organisations such as the Duke of Edinburgh Awards helps demonstrate personal qualities and attributes.

Siobhan Thomas, director, Seer Green Financial Planning, Newport

You may lack the skills needed for a certain post, but skills can be learned. You can’t make a first impression twice, so good preparation for a job application and the interview will go a long way. Tailor your CV and covering letter for the company and the role you are applying for; research that company, find out who its clients are, how it differs from its competitors, what appeals to you about the organisation and show them you are genuinely interested in that business, rather than just in any old job. Financial services is a great place to start your career as it is a growing market and the jobs are so varied.

Beverley Jones, managing director, Awaken Coaching

In today's world of technology there is becoming a serious lack of social skills when it comes to being able to start and hold a conversation. With this in mind I would advise school leavers to either get a weekend job or take part in a voluntary role which would require them to interact with others through spoken conversation both through team work and / or one-to-one interaction with customers/clients. This in turn would grow their confidence and empower them when it comes to approaching interviews for their first proper job.