Catenian Secondary Schools Initiative (CSSI)

To see SCHOOLS INITIATIVE DOCUMENTS, click on the link.

See: Working with the Young Adults of Tomorrow – v2  (Draft Article for Catholic Today)

Senior Officers of The Catenian Association enthusiastically endorsed our joint initiative with Solihull Circle to support Catholic Youth by putting together panels of Catenians and other interested Catholics with diverse backgrounds in Industry, Commerce and Public Service who will run Practice Job Interviews and Employability Workshops in local Catholic Secondary Schools for 5th (Y12) and 6th Form (Y13) Pupils.

To date (as of January 2020) we’ve interviewed, trained and/or  briefed more than 500 Catholic teenagers in 3 local schools….!

We started with St Peter’s Catholic School in July 2014.

St Peter’s School greatly appreciated our help, and asked us to continue to support them with our Interview Programme in the 2015/16 School Year. The “Thank You” letter from the (then) Head Teacher of St Peter’s may be seen below.

St Peters Head Thank You letter - Jan 2015


The pictures below show some of St Peter’s past 6th Formers.

t Peters Image 2

St Peters Image 1St Peters Image 4

St Peters Image 3

We offered St Peter’s additional services in Autumn 2014 and trialled these with 55 x 4th Form (Y11) pupils, these services were:

(1) Employability Skills Workshops, starting with Writing CV’s, practical advice & examples for improving the pupil’s CV.  This included one-to-one assessments of submitted CVs, with personal advice on how to improve them. (For most pupils, this was the first time they’ve ever thought about how best to present themselves to a potential Employer.)

(2) The Workshop’s content included writing an Application Letter, researching Employers, and analysing Job Adverts, with advice & help available on real applications.

(3) Finally, the Workshops provided advice on Preparing for Interviews, important Do’s and Don’ts, preparing answers to popular interview questions, and the importance of both attitude and body language.

Pupils who attended the workshops had a 25 minute Practice Job Interview, with 5 minutes of verbal feedback at the end.

The pupils who did attend were generally attentive, cooperative and appreciative, and (surprisingly!) this included those with known disciplinary problems or Special Educational Needs (perhaps 30%).

These activities were scheduled throughout the Autumn Term, to ease both our Volunteer scheduling  and to improve the school’s flexibility.

In November 2014 we started helping Archbishop Ilsley Catholic School in Acock’s Green, and worked with the Head and his senior team to devise a programme to address the needs of their pupils, who are from a much more diverse socio-economic mix than at St Peter’s in Solihull. We successfully delivered a compressed (1 hour) version of our Employability Workshops, plus about fifty x 6th form Interviews, including several MedSchool and Oxbridge Entrance Practice Interviews. The kids were impressive and seemed to appreciate our help.

Below is a link to the “Thank You” letter from Martin Dougan, Head of Careers at Archbishop Ilsley School:

Tom Catenians

Any Catenian Circle (or Catholic School) is most welcome to download and use the comprehensive materials in our SCHOOLS INITIATIVE DOCUMENTS and we will be pleased to help them with practical guidance & advice wherever possible. For genuine help, contact or ring me on 0121 706 2118 (home) or 01783 921 749 (mobile).

We at August 2019 have on our Panel:

  • Mike Brennan who has extensive experience in Sales and Marketing.

  • Tom Brassil is an Electrical Engineer with a BSc in Applied Science, a STEMNET Ambassador with experience in Domestic & International Sales, Marketing, Business and HR. Tom worked for British Telecom & for other telecomms suppliers, and in Manufacturing Industry, local & international Consultancy and for the NHS, and has extensive interviewing & training experience. 

  • Rex Marfleet, a former General Manager in the Plastic Raw Materials Industry & who  worked for both large and small companies, and has experience in sales, marketing and manufacturing. Rex has a HNC in Chemistry and extensive interviewing and recruiting experience.

  • Tony Taylor is an Electrical Engineer, a retired National Grid Manager and a STEMNET Ambassador experienced with working with local Schools.

  • Eileen Moroney-Barnett is a working mum to Dominic, who has Downs Syndrome. She is Head of Business Development & Governance with Solihull Community Housing, and is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries & Administrators (ICSA). Eileen has Graduate Recruitment experience.

  • Denise Poole is a retired Bank Official, she trained & interviewed graduates at Midland Bank. She also worked as a GP Practice Manager and managed their recruitment interviews. Denise left the NHS about 2 years ago, and has since sat on the Schools Appeal Panel.

  • Doctor Denys Nicol, a retired GP and a Cambridge graduate who has worked with orphans in Romania.

  • Paul Bentley, who is Enterprise Business Unit Leader with IBM Warwick Systems & Technology Group and chair of The Governors at Our Lady of the Wayside Catholic Primary School. Paul is a Physics graduate of Keble College, Oxford.

This is a “win-win” initiative.  We use our skills & experience to help meet the Association’s objective of encouraging Catholic Youth, establish valuable links with Catholic Schools, make The Catenians better known and (of course) the parents of 15 to 18 year olds are likely to be between 35 and 45 years old, which is our key recruitment target age group for new members.

(STEMNET is a national initiative to support pupils who wish to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Management and provides volunteers with a DBS Clearance (previously known as a CRB Check) at no cost to themselves to allow them to work freely with young people.)


SEE:  Catena_Article_-_The_Catenian_Secondary_Schools_Initiative


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