Could you give an hour and help our young people to find the right path?
People living in East London are being asked to support a unique volunteering opportunity which helps young people get a better insight into career pathways.
Called ‘Give an Hour’, the campaign asks professional volunteers to support a local school or college by discussing their career journey either personally or virtually. Sharing insights in this way can make a difference to the options a young person considers for their future career.
The project is the brainchild of The Careers and Enterprise Company and is supported by our Local London Careers Hub East Programme.
East London resident Danielle Ferguson, Partnerships Marketing Manager for the Money and Pensions Service, recently supported Valentines High School in Ilford.
After reading about the campaign on social media, Danielle, who lives in Gidea Park in Havering, applied to get involved.
Danielle said: “I started my career with young people, working in the outreach team for a university where I led on events and activities to support and inspire young people to go to university and consider their post school choices, and I loved every minute of it.
“When I saw the ‘Give an Hour’ campaign on LinkedIn, it really resonated with me. It’s a great opportunity to support young people and schools in need of support and engagement, especially as many are cash-strapped and under-resourced. The ‘hour’ part was also a major hook as it wasn’t a huge commitment, but a way for me to do something really rewarding and enjoyable that fits around my work schedule and other commitments.”
Lots of ways to ‘give an hour’
When you apply to become part of ‘Give an Hour’ you are registered on their network and schools and colleges in need of support can find you there and get in touch. There are many ways you can give your time – whether it’s a virtual talk about your career path, a Q&A session, leading a workshop, judging a competition which is relevant to your profession or handing out some interview and CV tips.
Danielle’s employer, like many, allocate a number of days for volunteering, and she used that time to support ‘Give an Hour’.
Danielle took part in Valentines’ Year 11 Virtual Work Experience Day where students worked on a virtual design and technology project which challenged them to create an app.
She said: “I listened to their pitches and gave constructive feedback on the variety of ideas they came up with and selected a winner. There was also a Q&A at the end of the session where they asked me questions about my job and my career route, what I enjoy and what the earning potential was.”
Danielle, who has also supported a school in Westminster through ‘Give an Hour’, said pupils have reacted positively in both cases and she had enjoyed her involvement.
She said: “I’ve benefitted from working with students individually and in small and large group settings and being able to offer that variety can make such an impact to young people.
“Seeing young people in their element, being creative and sharing ideas is really inspiring and gave me the opportunity to tap into their interests. After one session, I spoke to a pupil about their career aspirations, which had nothing to do with my career journey, but I was able to provide practical advice and encouragement on next steps which the student was receptive too and that kind of interaction is so powerful.”
Why you should ‘Give an hour’ a try
Danielle is now a real convert to ‘Give an Hour’ and encourages other professionals to give it a try.
She said: “I really enjoy it – it is such a rewarding experience being able to share my career journey, knowledge and insight with the next generation. I often come away thinking that the students I’ve engaged with have really taught me something, whether it’s a new way of thinking, the next trend, or my own life choices. Having a genuine interest and openness works well as young people have such a good gauge of whether you are genuinely interested in them or not.”
You can find out more about ‘Give an Hour’ and sign up on the Careers and Enterprise Company website.