Eagles: 15 years of flying starts

 In Employment, News

(Above image: Eagles pre-lockdown)

Eagles is a six-month, paid graduate development programme that connects businesses with extraordinary, hardworking talent. It is the flagship ELBA programme. Now in its fifteenth year, it has helped over 285 graduates get their careers off to a flying start.

Set up in 2005 in response to record levels of underemployment in one of the most disadvantaged areas in London, Eagles gives recent graduates from East London the tools, experience and opportunity to build a professional career in a top London Firm.

After three weeks of training, including personal impact and presentation from the National Theatre, graduates join their host firm: 96% of Eagles go on to find permanent graduate level employment; all receive continued mentorship and support from the ever growing and inspiring Eagles alumni community.

“We look for the potential in young people, not just their academic success or schooling. We want to ensure that the Eagles we work with are not just the evidence of social mobility, but agents of it, becoming the leaders, employers, and mentors who drive social mobility in their own right in the future.”

– Sally Roberts, Programme Director

Eagles in lockdown: a day in the life

Getting to grips with a new job in the middle of a national lockdown is no mean feat.

Currently there are 10 CSR Eagle graduates doing just that, starting their first employment opportunity working from their bedroom or living room. Ajmin Haque tells us more:

“I started my placement at Macfarlanes LLP on Monday 16th March and was in the office for two days before I began working from home, something I have never done before!


I feel fortunate because I was able to meet my team and have a team lunch before lock down started. I am now in my tenth week of my placement and I have daily video catch ups and meetings, it is lovely that despite everything I can stay in contact with my team virtually.


Initially, I was struggling to stay on top of my workload a little, finding last minute tasks challenging to manage, and so my team helped me to create a workflow tracker which has really helped me focus and prioritise my tasks.


Over the last few weeks, work has been building up and I have taken on more responsibility, for example drafting and posting information about cultural and religious events on the company’s intranet. I recently contributed to a wider piece on how Muslims around the firm were coping with Ramadan in lockdown, alongside six or seven other colleagues representing various areas of the business, which was a great opportunity to learn about others in the firm.


As well as managing varied tasks, drafting minutes, agendas, managing inboxes, I have also been helping to coordinate virtual volunteering efforts and charity donations across the business.


Another initiative I have been helping with is arranging student phone calls with colleagues across the business, who offer advice and an insight into what their role is like. It is a great feeling knowing I am helping to arrange something that could potentially shape a student’s career!


Furthermore, my colleagues from across the business have been working hard to find ways to donate money to good causes, to their charity of the year – and so I have been creating a number of Virgin Money Giving pages to help them manage this.


I have such a variety of tasks in my average day, all different and interesting, and I really like how varied the work continues to be, even in lock down!”

Join us

The true impact of COVID-19 is not yet known, but it is widely acknowledged that those in our communities who came into this situation the most vulnerable or disadvantaged, will leave it even worse off.

Now more than ever, businesses can make a seismic difference to the trajectory of a young person and their family’s life by seeking talent in the places they don’t normally look. Eagles do the hard work on businesses behalf, working closely with disadvantaged communities to find hardworking, talented, bright and motivated graduates that go on to shine in a corporate environment.

We have great relationships with employers offering fantastic placements for young people. Our partners already include ING, EY, Bank of America, Credit Suisse, RBS, RSA, Freshfields, Allen & Overy and MacFarlanes LLP among many others.

We want more employers on board so that we can get more talented candidates into places where they can flourish. Please get in touch to find out more at eagles.org.uk or contact Sally Roberts at sally.roberts@elba-1.org.uk.

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