At Yes Futures, we believe that every child should be empowered to recognise and reach their full potential. But some students may not be aware of the opportunities available to them, or may need space and time to reflect on what skills they need to develop to succeed in the workplace.
A key part of our Yes Futures programmes is our World of Work day. Hosted by our inspiring partners, students have the opportunity to meet professionals from a variety of inspiring companies, boosting their aspirations as they learn about a range of roles and routes into the workplace and develop key employability skills.
Why is work experience so important?
Work experience is crucial for boosting students’ aspirations, broadening their horizons, and encouraging them to consider career paths they may have previously been unaware of. The last year has been an extremely challenging one for students, resulting in many students feeling more anxious about their future. A recent survey found that 41% of young people believe their future goals now seem "impossible to achieve" as a result of the pandemic, rising to 50% of those young people from poorer backgrounds (Censuswide, 2021).
Given the impact of the pandemic on young people’s career prospects, encouraging students to think about their futures and develop key life skills is more important than ever. We were delighted that so many of our partners recognised the heightened importance of giving young people an insight into the working world at this time, and so volunteered their time to provide exceptional World of Work sessions for our students.
What we achieved for our students and partner schools
With schools limiting the number of visitors in response to the pandemic, our Programme Managers arranged for all of our World of Work sessions to be delivered virtually. Luckily, all sessions ran smoothly with no tech issues! We were delighted to be joined by some exceptional volunteers from a range of world-leading organisations, who provided students with valuable insights into the world of work.
Each of our partners kicked off their session with a quiz, enabling students to learn about each company, including the size of the company and how many employees it has across the world! Students then had the opportunity to ‘speed network’ with employees from each firm, building their confidence as they interacted with a range of professionals. It was also a brilliant opportunity for the students to practice their communication skills, and we were delighted to see many of the students gaining confidence and asking thoughtful questions as each session progressed.
Here is a quick round up from the events:
Explore Learning: The Explore Learning team really inspired our Rising Futures students by encouraging them to think about the skills needed to be a great employee, including how to work well in a team and how to be a successful leader. Many students were also interested to hear from the Explore Learning team about how they support all of their employees to fulfil their potential.
EY: As one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms, EY certainly provided us with an insight into the world of work. We had few wide eyes when students learned that EY have offices in 153 countries, with nearly 300,000 employees!
Students were lucky enough to hear from EY’s Financial Services Managing Partner, Anna Anthony, about her inspiring career journey. The EY team also outlined some of the different routes for joining EY, including their school leaver programmes, graduate schemes, apprenticeships and internships. Students also learned about the huge range of roles available at EY and were encouraged to think about the skills needed to thrive at EY and in the world of work.
Gartner: Students were really inspired by the ‘speed networking session’ and asked some fantastic questions to the Gartner team. The team really supported the students to see how important the skills that they're developing through the Rising Futures programme are, in order for them to thrive in their future careers.
“They were exceptional kids – great fun and great questions” – Gartner employee
Hawkins Brown: Hawkins Brown gave students a deep insight into the architecture industry. Many students couldn’t quite believe that Lego has such an important part to play in architecture and design!
Students were fascinated to learn about several design builds that Hawkins Brown have been involved in – and how much it cost to build them. Students also learnt about different routes into the working world that don’t require a degree, such as apprenticeships. Founding partner of the company, Russell Brown, was also a huge hit with the students with his relatable and honest words of advice.
KPMG: Employees from the global accounting firm wowed our students by sharing their inspirational background stories. The KPMG team also gave the students brilliant careers advice and left students thinking more openly about their futures. Students also reported that they really connected with the KPMG employees, who took the time to answer their questions openly and honestly.
Pearson: Students use Pearson’s textbooks every day to support their learning, but during this session students got to meet the people behind the products! Students were delighted to learn about the people powering Pearson and their diverse professional journeys. The students were amazed by the different jobs within the company and learnt a lot about different skills they could develop within a workplace like Pearson.
Reed Smith: Reed Smith ran an inspiring question and answer session for our students with a panel of employees from a huge range of backgrounds. Students were fascinated to learn that there is more to working in law than just appearing in court or what we see on TV or in films!
Twitter: Students loved taking part in the quiz to understand what Twitter does as an organisation and find out a bit about how many employees they have, how many offices they have worldwide and how many daily users there are! After hearing from two employees about their very different career paths, it was then time to hand the reins over to the students for them to ask some questions in a speed networking activity. This gave the students the opportunity to meet a range of different Twitter employees to find out a bit more about what they do in their role day to day. The students asked some excellent questions such as, what time they start and finish work? How much holiday do they get? Is their job now what they always wanted to do? What was their first ever job?
The students really enjoyed gaining an insight to what it is like to work for a big organisation and learn from the experiences of Twitter’s employees.
ZS: Students really enjoyed learning about what ZS do through a fun quiz, learning the answers to a huge range of questions, such as how much does it cost to bring a medicine to the market? The speed networking was also a fantastic opportunity for students to step out of their comfort zone, and the day really inspired the students to consider what they want to do in the future.
Impact of our World of Work days
We were delighted to receive fantastic feedback from students, teachers and our partners following our World of Work days. Students were inspired by meeting professionals and learning about the different paths into the workplace. They were very interested in the different roles available at each organisation, and the experience seemed to inspire many of them to think about their future goals more seriously. It was fantastic to see many of the students increase their confidence throughout the day by speaking to a range of new people who they wouldn’t have ordinarily have been able to speak to!
“We have learnt that getting a dream job isn’t as easy as it sounds so you have to believe in yourself!”
“I enjoyed being able to ask different people questions and get information from an inside view.”
We want to thank all of our wonderful partners for generously giving up their time to host such thought-provoking, inspiring days for our students. We look forward to working again with our partners when our next programmes begin in September!