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Sixth Form delighted to welcome Stephen Isherwood


On Friday 29th April, The Harefield Academy Sixth Form were delighted to welcome Mr Stephen Isherwood, the CEO of the Association of Graduate Recruiters, who came to speak to some of the Sixth Form students. The event was arranged by the Speakers for Schools scheme and The Harefield Academy was selected to hold Mr Isherwood’s talk. 40 students were selected from Years 12 and 13 to attend; they are all Sixth Form students who have either started to apply or applied to university. The aim of the talk was to get the students thinking about how to sell their skills and make the most of their university experience to become more employable in the future.

Mr Isherwood was appointed Chief Executive of AGR in June 2013 following seven years as Head of Graduate Recruitment UK & Ireland at Ernst & Young, one of the largest recruiters of graduates in the UK. He started his HR career at Coopers & Lybrand recruiting experienced management consultants before moving into graduate recruitment when the firm merged with Price Waterhouse to form PwC. After PwC he led the graduate recruitment and development programme at Safeway before working in the public sector where he developed and managed a number of careers related programmes, but Mr Isherwood’s first career was in retail. After his A-levels he joined B & Q on their store management programme before eventually deciding to return to student life at the University of Westminster from where he graduated with a degree in Business Studies. He also holds a postgraduate diploma in Human Resource Management. Mr Isherwood has extensive experience in the recruitment and development of students, both graduates and school leavers. He has worked closely with Higher Education throughout his career with a focus on the career development and employment of students. In addition to his current role, Mr Isherwood sits on a number of steering groups related to higher education and employment including the HEAR Advisory Committee, the Plotr Advisory Council, the GPA Advisory Group and is on the board of HECSU. He has presented to various committees in the Houses of Parliament and often appears in national and local media.

Mr Isherwood spoke of the importance for students to gain experience of the workplace early on in their student lives, what skills employers were looking for and how students could go about developing and getting experience of showcasing these skills. He encouraged the students to be more self-aware of what they were capable of and where they could improve themselves ready for the jobs market. A lot of what Mr Isherwood spoke of resonated with the students as the UCAS process does encourage students to be more self-reflective and hones their ability to sell themselves on paper. This was Mr Isherwood’s first school talk and he was so delighted with our Sixth Form students that he offered to return every year to speak to them. Worthy praise from a fascinating man!