Apprenticeship Selection Day… An Alternative to the Formal Interview

Apprentice Yard Hand Selection Day

With an expanding workforce, Gweek Classic Boatyard decided to invest in an apprentice to join their team, and commissioned the Cornwall Apprenticeship Agency to support them with recruitment. Gweek Classic Boatyard is a traditional Cornish boatyard based in the upper reaches of the beautiful Helford River, with a rich maritime history.

Mark Aichroth, Owner of Gweek Classic Boatyard explained “we wanted to expand our workforce and were looking to really mould and shape someone to how the boatyard works so that the new recruit could become responsive to our needs and the needs of our customers”.

Mark felt that by recruiting an apprentice that is local, Gweek Classic Boatyard was able to invest back into the local area and develop the skills of the existing team and those of the apprentice.

Cornwall Apprenticeship Agency undertook the recruitment for the vacancy, reviewing all applicants, completing initial telephone assessments and providing details on the Marina and Boatyard Operative Level 2 standard, that the successful applicant would be working towards with Cornwall Marine Network as the training provider. The CAA provided Gweek Classic Boatyard with a list of candidates for the role, organised the suitable candidates for interviews and supported the employer on a new initiative – the ‘Selection Day’.

Organising the ‘Selection Day’ – an inclusive and successful approach to recruitment:

As an alternative to formal one-to-one interviews that tend to only give a snapshot of the candidate under interview conditions, Gweek Classic Boatyard opted for a ‘Selection Day’ instead. Mark explained:

“It was important to design a series of challenges that allowed us to gain real insight into how the applicants conducted themselves and performed when working with others, especially when they are challenged with tasks”.

The Selection Day explained:

Running from 11am – 5pm, Gweek Classic Boatyard opened the day with a briefing on what each candidate could expect followed by two rounds of interviews. The first interview was designed to assess the applicants’ attitudes whilst the second interview with the Yard Manager was to assess the applicants’ technical abilities.

Following their interviews, the candidates undertook 3 different tasks to assess key skills and attributes including their problem-solving abilities, how they interact with each other and how they act when being challenged. Each task was designed to give Gweek Classic Boatyard a very balanced view and help them choose the best person.

Sam Lilley, CAA Project Coordinator, said: “Not only did the successful applicant get an opportunity to see what it was like to work for Gweek Classic Boatyard, the other applicants also all took something positive away from the day to improve and develop, making them potential stronger applicants in the future. I would really advise employers to consider organising a Selection Day as an alternative to one-to-one interviews, particularly if they are seeking to fill a practical position”.