What are you responsible for at YE?
I manage 3 national projects funded by The Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC). All 3 projects operate in schools in disadvantaged areas across England, with the aim of improving social mobility in young people, through education and enterprise activities. We deliver some really innovative programmes which support young people to consider their career path and help them find out what they are good at. All our programmes involve volunteers from the world of work who bring the activities to life through sharing their work related experiences and career journeys. We work with some brilliant employers which helps to raise aspirations in young people, and prompts them to think about their own choices and set goals for the future. We know employer interactions are key, as research shows that if a young person has four or more encounters with the world of work during their secondary education, they are 86% less likely to become NEET (not in education, employment or training). During the past 3 years, our CEC funded programmes have reached over 28,000 students and engaged more than 1500 employers. This number will continue to rise during the 2019/20 academic year.
What attracted you to working here?
I’ve worked in education and youth work for 20 years, and I’ve always been attracted to roles that support young people to learn by doing. I was drawn to Young Enterprise as the programmes are all about developing practical skills and an enterprising mindset in young people, regardless of where their starting point is academically. YE’s Company Programme for example, runs in schools across the country and involves students setting up their own business and bringing a product to market with the support of a mentor from a local business. I think this is an incredible opportunity for young people, as not only do they learn more about the world of work, they find out about more about themselves and develop confidence and resilience in bucketloads. Students are also able to articulate what they learned and demonstrate which skills they developed to future employers or education providers. I wish I had done it when I was in school!
Describe a typical working day?
A typical day would involve supporting our field staff who deliver our programmes to students, liaising with local Enterprise Coordinators who support employers to link up with schools and colleges, connecting with businesses about volunteering opportunities and working with internal functions such as finance, marketing and evaluation to ensure all the project outputs are reported and promoted. Every day is different though – a few weeks ago, I helped to coordinate a visit from the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Education, who volunteered in a college in a deprived area of London on one of our day programmes. It was a great opportunity to showcase our work – you can read about his feedback here
What are the best bits about your role?
The best part of the role is knowing that the funding I manage is making a difference and reaching students most in need.
What inspires you?
Working with young people is always inspiring, especially when they’re engaged in enterprise activities – their ideas, determination and resilience never fails to amaze me. I’ve seen young people who were barely able to make eye contact with an adult, end up delivering a presentation to hundreds of people in a relatively short space of time, all through taking part in Young Enterprise programmes.
What is something you have learnt in the last week?
The young people engaged in our Company Programme could give the candidates on The Apprentice show a run for their money
What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
Music journalist – just for the free gigs
What would you most likely tell yourself at age 13?
When someone tells you can’t, tell yourself you can. Try different things – do some volunteering, take part in careers and enterprise activities in school (like Company Programme!). Oh and music helps cure a multitude of problems, so start collecting the vinyl early