Education Works: inspiring students to aim high

 In Community, Employment, News

It’s no surprise that landing a job in a corporate environment can be a challenge for young people – particularly without the right networks or experience.This is particularly so for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who can face a double disadvantage in such a competitive jobs market. The steps from hearing about an opportunity or an internship to actually getting an offer can seem daunting. Gone are the good old days where you could just call up a company and ask for a job.

Across ELBA’s education programme we are proud to support school, college and University students with improving their employability skills. Statistics show that when a young person has four (or more) interactions with the world of work, they are five times less likely to be NEET (not in education, employment or training).

Established in 1996, Mentoring Works is one of our longest running programmes, matching students from Year 10 and Sixth Form to business volunteers where students meet regularly over the course of the academic year. The programme has supported over 6000 students. A report by the Chambers of Commerce (2014), found that employers say 90% of school leavers are not ready for work with 74% of employers prioritising transferable skills equal to or above technical skills when recruiting employees. The programme works well to help students better understand the work environment, identify career goals and develop the soft skills valued by employers to thrive in the workplace.

The Schools & Colleges team (BES) finds that introducing students to our City and Canary Wharf companies from an early age has an impact on their aspirations and exposes them to environments that they may not have known existed. The workshops we deliver with business volunteers are designed to give students those ‘light bulb moments’ where they realise anything is possible and encourage them to take every opportunity presented to them.

The Higher Education team offer students insight afternoons into companies where they can hear from a range of staff about their roles and how they got them, as well as improving their networking and presentation skills. This month, University students visited M3 Consulting in Bishopsgate and had a tour of the M3’s building projects including Broadgate Circle. Students felt the experience was really beneficial, in particular hearing about the day to day life working in project management. It was also interesting to hear the changing landscape of the area to include a mix of office and retail spaces to encourage a working and social environment. One of the students mentioned “it was an insightful session to understand more about project management and being able to see M3’s projects brought what they do to life”.

Our work with schools, colleges and universities to facilitate interventions such as insight sessions, mock interviews and CV reviews can go a long way to helping students gain commercial awareness, confidence and a better understanding of how to navigate their careers and fulfil their potential.

If you are a company and are interested in finding more on how you can support our Education programmes (Schools, Higher Education, Mentoring), please email

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