Every student on our primary or secondary school programmes is given the opportunity to explore the ‘World of Work’ through a fully organised trip with one of our inspirational partners.
This is a key part of our programmes, alongside personalised coaching with a Yes Futures Coach focused on developing four key skills: confidence, communication, resilience and self-awareness.
The importance of these life skills is well documented, with 94% of employers saying that life skills are at least as important as academic results for young people’s success, and 72% of teachers believing their school should increase its focus on teaching life skills(The Sutton Trust).
Students also understand the importance of these skills: 44% of teenagers believe they aren't given enough opportunities to build skills such as confidence and resilience(Duke of Edinburgh Study, 2019).
And so our programmes, which have life skills at their core, provide essential support for students, particularly those without as many life opportunities as their peers.
During one of the most challenging years for students’ learning and opportunities, we knew that our September 2020 programmes had to be a success. Despite the significant challenges of the global pandemic, our team rose to the occasion!
What we achieved for our students and partner schools
As September rolled around, our Programme Executives returned from furlough. They began working diligently to plan an opportunity for all our students to speak with and learn from some phenomenal organisations.
With schools limiting the number of external visitors the Programme Executives facilitated all coaching sessions via zoom, something new for us and many of our Coaches. We were impressed by students’ flexibility and openness to coaching online, as well as our schools’ tech support! By early November, the first three coaching sessions were complete, technical difficulties overcome, and students were prepared and ready to meet employees from some of the world’s leading organisations.
This World of Work virtual experience felt like one of the most important we’ve rolled out to date. A recent survey by the Prince’s Trust found that more than one in four young people feel their future career prospects have already been damaged by the coronavirus crisis. Many employers and teachers recognised this and so were committed to ensuring we could provide students with valuable insights into the working world.
World of Work Experience
This year we have had overwhelming support from our corporate partners, all eager to share their experience and advice with our students. Students had the opportunity to ‘speed network’ with employees from these firms, building their communication and confidence skills.
Here is a quick round up from the events:
Twitter: As world leaders in communication, Twitter certainly encouraged our students to speak. They sat back and let the students do the talking, allowing them to ask numerous questions to understand how someone ends up working at Twitter. Even the more nervous students grew in confidence throughout the session and by the end conversations were flowing smoothly.
EY: As one of the ‘Big Four’ professional services networks in the world, EY knows a thing or two about what skills are needed to succeed in the world of work. They outlined to students the variety of routes they could take: apprenticeships, university, graduate schemes and school leavers programmes.
And as a large multinational, many students felt inspired about travelling and visiting new countries. This gave a real boost to their confidence.
When asked ‘What did you learn from today that will help you in your future?’, students responded:
That you have a chance at anything
Never give up and focus on your goals
Be yourself and find a job that relates to what you enjoy
St. James’s Place Wealth Management: Employees took turns to share their journeys through education, careers and personal experiences. The main learning point that students took from this session was: you can start at the bottom and work your way up, even if it's in a different job to the one you started in.
“We all really enjoyed it and found the students really well behaved and engaging.” - St James’ Place Employee
Gartner: Students met several employees through ‘speed networking’. The students’ top three takeaways were:
To be fearless in your decisions
It takes time to find what job you want to do at first
Follow what you want to do, not something your friends do.
Students also discussed the skills needed to be a great employee, learning that there are extreme ends to skills which can also be detrimental, such as being overly confident.
Reed Smith: Law is a very traditional and well-respected profession. One that has evolved throughout history to shape the lives of everyone in the country. But employers from international law firm Reed Smith did not all have very ‘typical’ routes to becoming a lawyer - in fact, most set out doing something completely different! It was inspiring for students to learn the different backgrounds the employees had.
"Thanks again for organising this event which my colleagues and I were delighted to be part of and look forward to taking part in many more in the future." - Reed Smith Employee
Hawkins Brown: Architects from Hawkins Brown inspired students with their stories about what they aspired to be when they were younger, and how this tossed and turned throughout life to get them to where they are today. Students learned that there is no ‘one way’ to achieve goals, and that sometimes those goals may change as they develop as a person.
University Campus of Football Business (UCFB): Did you know there are over 450,000 types of jobs in the sports industry? Well neither did our students… until meeting Jason from the UCFB. Students didn’t go through them all, but they did pick a job and brainstorm with other employees the type of skills they might need to succeed in that role.
KPMG: Our Finding Futures primary school students were matched up with one of the ‘Big Four’ professional services companies, a leading global accounting firm. It was an inspiring experience seeing students ask all sorts of important questions, including ‘how is your business eco-friendly?’. The students really demonstrated themselves as future leaders.
Pearson: Students may have seen this company's name on their textbooks, but they had a chance to speak with the people behind the books.
The stories of the employees were as diverse as their books, with employees starting their working life from all different backgrounds. This resonated with our students, helping them see the path before them.
ZS: Consider how you might bring a shoe to market: the name, slogan, price, advertising campaign, unique selling point. Tricky isn’t it? ZS gave our students a real test, encouraging them to be creative in a way that’s different to their usual school work.
Explore Learning: Due to school closures the day wasn't able to go ahead, but we look forward to working with Explore in 2021!
Students took many lessons from this experience and appreciated having the chance to speak with a large variety of new people - a goal that several of the students had wanted to achieve.
We want to thank all of our truly inspiring partners for organising insightful and thought-provoking days for the students on our school programmes. Amidst what has been a challenging year for everyone, we are warmed to know that strong community partnerships like this can adapt to overcome adversity.