Extending Opportunities – Piloting a Work Experience Platform

31 May 2016

In spring and summer 2016 Speakers for Schools is running a pilot project to expand our work beyond the important role of connecting schools and speakers for talks, to help speakers open up their businesses and organisations to more young people, starting with work experience.

Speakers for Schools is driven by the desire to give state school students access to influential individuals across all sectors and in all industries which they would find hard to connect with otherwise. Our speakers give up their time and travel for free allowing students to gain invaluable advice and insights. We know from feedback from both schools and speakers that talks are not always the end of the story. Over 30% of our speakers offer extra opportunities to their host schools, whether through a workplace visit, connections to other people in their industry or work experience.

As a result of these fantastic extra opportunities we have initiated a pilot scheme to support speakers and their companies in better connecting with young people in state schools for work experience opportunities. This is in the hope of breaking down access for companies to students from state schools as well as exposing students to a variety of industries that they may not usually encounter.

The pilot’s initial focus is on opportunities for 15-16 year olds, an age at which students are already making important life choices that will impact their careers in the years to come. We hope by being exposed to these opportunities at this juncture students may think differently about their prospects and career choices.

In this month’s magazine published by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) Sabrina Moore documents her placement at CarWow and the impact this has had on her. This was made possible by Julia Muir visiting her school through Speakers for Schools:

“I was first introduced to CarWow by Julia Muir, a guest speaker who had visited my school at the beginning of the year. I was inspired by her message as it encouraged me and other students my age to aim high. She had expressed her passion for the automotive industry as it provides a wide variety of opportunities for young people, especially encouraging girls in particular to consider a career in the automotive business”

CarWow is a new business that offers customers a new way of buying cars where you are able to see offers from the best dealers across the UK. When I found out I had the opportunity to have experience for a week I was excited to find out more about what the Company do and how it runs.

Throughout my experience I was introduced to the different departments within the company and under took many jobs. For example, I helped the Market Development Manager by researching into large independent used car dealerships across the UK that the company could use, as well as helping the marketing team find different ways to promote the business such as through merchandise and large event holding.

The whole experience at CarWow was amazing and I met some lovely people! The team at CarWow were extremely friendly and welcoming. I gained a lot of skills, for example promotional, research and communicational skills, and also learnt a lot about some of the roles within the company and how everyone in the business works together.

My experience at CarWow made me sure that I want to pursue a career in the automotive business and how I would love to be part of a team similar to that of CarWow.

In my opinion, I truly believe that having work experience is valuable and is a good step to introducing you to working life. I personally think it’s a good way to get an understanding of the career you may want to consider in the future.”

SabrinaMoore

To see Sabrina Moore’s piece in full please find the link to AGR’s electronic magazine ‘Graduate Recruiter’ here.

To find out more about this developing piece of work please visit our Extending Opportunities page or contact the Director Ashley Hodges: Ashley.Hodges@speakers4schools.org or on +44 (0) 20 3092 9743.