The Giraffe Blog

Skype for Beginners

Posted Friday 15th March 2019 under Career Advice

Have you been invited to participate in a Skype interview, but the word Skype fills you with dread?

See our checklist below to make sure you're fully prepared and feeling confident ahead of your interview.

1. Make sure you sign up for a Skype account

Go to and click ‘Join Us’ in the top right-hand corner.

2. Create your account

You will have the option to sign in with your Facebook or Microsoft account, or you can create an account just for Skype. You will need a Messenger, Hotmail, Live or Outlook email address – if you don’t have any of those, it may be necessary to set up a new email account to use for Skype.

3. Download Skype

After setting up your Skype account, you need to make sure that you have downloaded the app to your computer, tablet or phone.

  • For Mac users: Save the Skype file to your computer. Double-click the download file and drag the Skype icon to your Application folder. Then open Skype from your Application folder and log in with your Skype name and password.
  • For Windows users: Save the Skype Setup Application to your computer. Double-click the Skype Setup file and follow the steps to install. Launch the Skype application and sign in with your Skype name and password.
  • For phone or tablet users: Search for the Skype app on the App Store and select install. Open the app and log in with your Skype name and password.

4. Check your audio and video settings

  • If it’s your first time logging in, you may be asked to customise your settings. You can always return to your settings later if you choose to skip this step.
  • Make sure that your speakers are on – you should be able to hear the Skype jingle.
  • Check that your voice can be heard through the microphone. If it can’t, make sure that the correct microphone is selected from the list.
  • Check to see if your webcam is connected – you should be able to see yourself on the live video feed. If you can’t, check your video settings and make sure that your webcam is connected correctly.
  • If you’ve never used Skype before, we would highly recommend finding a friend or family member you can have a test call with to make sure that all your settings are set up correctly; alternatively, give us a call and we will be happy to arrange a test call with you!

5. Make sure that you’re prepared on the day

Make sure that you have a strong Internet connection, you’ve tested all of the above and you’re in a suitable location (in front of a plain background) where you won’t be disturbed. Dress smartly as this is still an interview and you need to make a good first impression. Good luck!

If you are having problems setting Skype up or don’t have one of the necessary email addresses:
Speak to your GPRS consultant – we may be able to arrange for your interview to take place over Whatsapp, FaceTime (Apple users only), Google Duo etc. instead.

If you have any other problems or questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Blog Author - Rachel Harrison View the PDF version of this blog

December Blog: Conducting a Professional Interview - How to make sure you hire the right people the first time

Posted Monday 3rd December 2018 under WBL Sector Info


The people you employ are the lifeblood of your business. Without them, you have no service and no product because they provide the service and sell the product.

Yet, it is surprising how many companies launch themselves into recruiting for their company’s most important asset and actually do very little preparation to ensure that they attract and select the right people.

Hiring the wrong people is expensive in terms of the time taken to read through CV’s, interview candidates, etc., etc. But is even more expensive is the damage a person with an inappropriate level of skill can do for your company’s reputation. Some companies take a laissez-faire attitude to this, thinking that if someone doesn’t work out, they will simply replace them. However, a high staff turnover can be extremely unsettling to your existing workforce on a wide range of levels and therefore, it not a good business policy.

The series is written by Helen Wilson, Sales Director of GPRS. GPRS is an award-winning independent recruitment consultancy specialising in the Work Based Learning & Training Sector. GPRS is Investors in People Gold Standard, which is an indicator of high performance and an Investors in People Champion. Helen has over 20 years experience in recruitment and selection at all levels and across many, many sectors. Helen possesses the CIPD’s Advanced Programme in the Psychology of Management and has over 10 years experience in writing Induction and Management Programmes in line with Investors in People.

Blog Author - Helen Wilson Download the FULL Blog in PDF format Conducting a Professional Interview

What is the perfect age for an apprenticeship?

Posted Wednesday 7th November 2018 under WBL Sector Info

In a recent article written for the ILM, Barclays says every age. The organisation is championing apprenticeships – of all sorts and for everyone. With four main apprenticeship pathways, open to people of different ages and from different backgrounds, the organisation is setting an example to us all. They have really got to the heart of what apprenticeships can offer.

Hugh Mundy, now 59, started his Foundation Apprenticeship with Barclays in November 2017. Originally from Zimbabwe, where he pursued a 15-year career as a pilot and qualified flying instructor, Hugh moved to the UK in search of a more stable political situation. After facing a number of health issues, he struggled to get back to work.

"At my age, I thought it was very difficult to start something new, and it was only through a career adviser that I considered the Barclays apprenticeships - which I didn’t know existed."

Hugh told of his surprise when he discovered there were apprenticeships in Banking and Management. Previously he had, like many others, automatically associated them with trade professions, and didn’t realise that they could be used by people in lots of different circumstances, and at different points in their careers. Looking back, he reflects:

"This experience hasn’t changed my perception of what an apprenticeship is, it’s changed my awareness of who apprenticeships can be used by. Apprenticeships seemed always to be a way for non-university types to get into the workforce, and that’s not to say they are not academic; it’s just that some people choose not to go to university."

Amina Ishaq, also a Barclay's Apprentice on the Foundation Apprenticeship Programme, had a similar understanding of apprenticeships until recently. “I’ve seen many apprenticeship ads on TV and they were always putting an age to it: let’s say if you were 16, 17, 18, 24 maximum…That kind of put me off; not only am I older but when I was that age, nothing like this was offered to me.” It was only when she came across adverts for Barclays’ Apprenticeships that she realised it was possible to do an apprenticeship outside of the 16 – 24 demographic."

"Most people are not aware that you can do an apprenticeship as an older person, and there are plenty of people who would find them really valuable – for example, if they are out of work, want a career change, or want to get into something they don’t have any experience of doing. So, definitely, in that sense, it’s a false façade, from what I’ve seen with the age range. I guess anyone of any age can take an apprenticeship, it requires more practical skills than having an academic education, which you can pick up along the way anyway."

The benefits of an apprenticeship for all ages is not only visible on the apprentices’ side. Aside from being an inspiration for other organisations of the sort, the programme is equipping Barclays with one of its most important assets – motivated and skilled people.

Shaun Meekins, Head of Operations - Early Careers shares his views:

"We have an opportunity to redefine Apprenticeships. In today’s climate, we should be opening our doors to all candidate communities. Age, experience and levels of qualification are irrelevant. If we are to focus our attention on recruiting for potential, we should be offering a wholly inclusive and accessible channel through which anybody can apply. Equally, in order to reflect our customer base, having different generations of Apprentices creates a greater connection between our colleagues and our customers."

To read the full ILM article click here

Flexible working relieves hard-to-fill vacancies pressure

Posted Wednesday 10th October 2018 under WBL Sector Info

Flexible Hiring Champions pilot launches to widen talent pools for employers and address barriers to flexibility at work

The Timewise Foundation has published its latest Flexible Jobs Index, their annual report on the percentage of jobs which are advertised as being open to flexibility. Despite the demand for flexible working being at an all-time high, only 21.2% of jobs under £20K FTE and 11.1% of jobs over £20K FTE are advertised as being flexible. The percentage of jobs being advertised as open to flexibility has only risen by a small amount since the index was first published in 2016, highlighting the need to further challenge employers to think outside the box when it comes to the traditional model of a job. In order to tackle this, we are working in partnership with the Timewise Foundation on a new pilot which harnesses CIPD members to become Flexible Hiring Champions – to challenge current misconceptions and help leaders and managers build more innovative and inclusive workplaces.

Helen Wilson, Sales Director GPRS says, “It is great to see that many of our clients are now becoming more open to flexible working. More and more are now saying that they realise by acknowledging that many of the experienced Trainers and Assessors are parents and will choose to work for a company who will allow them to adapt their working day to fit in with childcare arrangements. Working remotely (from home) Trainers and Assessors can plan their learner visits so they can drop and collect children from school. This can mean a reduced working day, but many plough through their ever growing administration burden whilst the children are tucked up in bed. By tapping into this pool of talent, a company is opening itself to a wider range of applicants than standard 9 – 5 hours being offered.”

For the full article, please click here Helen Wilson's Profile

Top Tips for Hiring Senior People

Posted Friday 5th October 2018 under WBL Sector Info

As business owners see their companies grow, they come to the realisation that they cannot do it all, and in order for their business to prosper and expand, they are going to have to invest in an extra pair of hands to take over some of the responsibilities, or hire expert skills to help them realise their corporate dreams. Many of our clients’ first senior appointment are Lead Assessors to manage a small team, or a Quality Manager to help them work towards a higher Ofsted grading.

This can be a big step for many business owners as they seek to attract not only a person with the skills they need but also someone who shares similar values to you so they fit into the company culture. It can also be a bit frightening to have to fork out a salary that is higher than business owners have previously paid to employees.

Whether it is your first senior hire, or you’ve done it before many times, recruiting executive-level posts can be challenging and risky, but this risk can be minimised by dedicating serious time to a well-planned, thought-through process to help increase your odds of a successful appointment.

Top Tips for Hiring Senior People - download the full article in PDF format below:

Top Tips for Hiring Senior People
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