Student ‘striving for better’ on EY Foundation Smart Futures programme

A student at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) says he is more optimistic about his career prospects after taking part in the EY Foundation Smart Futures programme.

Jason Uwaechie, 17, successfully secured a place on the programme, which provides paid work experience, employability skills training and the 10-month support of a business mentor.

He was encouraged by Work Placement Officer Lola Ramsden to apply for the Impactful Futures programme, which gives students the chance to learn and experience more about careers in the charity sector.

Jason undertook a work placement with Sapphire Employability and Wellbeing Academy, which aims to empower young people from minority and disadvantaged backgrounds in London through employability, wellbeing and enrichment support.

Prior to the placement he joined students from other colleges in speed networking sessions with representatives from across the charity sector to hear more about their roles and organisations. He also took part in workshops that covered leadership and communication skills, self-reflection and interview techniques.

Students were later placed into group’s where they were asked to come up with an idea for a charity and give a Dragons’ Den style pitch to charity leaders from Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity, Save The Children and the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations.

Jason’s team came up with a charity called Perfect Pupils, which aimed to provide eye care to underprivileged people in Africa who do not have access to quality ophthalmologic services.

Although his team did not win the challenge, Jason was awarded Best Speaker by the panel of experts who were impressed with the way he gave a persuasive personal anecdote and encouraged another member of his team to do the same during the presentation.

Jason said: “I‘ve never really had this kind of opportunity before and was surprised at how much I accomplished on the programme.

“It gave me optimism and a sense that I could achieve the positions of the people I was working with. I didn’t really see being a manager as something I could do. I thought I would just go and work at Tesco or somewhere like that, but now I’m striving for better. It’s given me much more self-belief and confidence.

“The programme also taught me a lot about perseverance and discipline. It showed me that even when things feel overwhelming and difficult, you still can achieve the outcome you want regardless of how you feel at that moment. It’s also helped me prepare for my future by opening my mind to the different routes you can take in life without the fear of failure.”

Jason is receiving monthly one-to-one mentoring sessions over the next year with Salahuddin Sally-Oceane, Senior Partnerships Development Executive at Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity, to support him as he explores his option and makes decisions about his future career.

Jason said: “My mentor has been working with me to boost my public speaking abilities and is helping me to be as productive as possible. A good piece of advice he gave me was to listen more than you speak, and when you do speak make sure that what you’re saying is relevant.

“I feel very confident about my future after taking part in this programme. It’s great that the college offer opportunities of this sort to students, so they can see first-hand that you can do anything you believe in no matter where you come from.”

The EY Foundation is an independent charity set up by financial giant EY, which helps young people to succeed in the workplace by tackling barriers they face and supporting them into higher education and employment.

Claire Broomby, Programme Lead at EY Foundation, said: “Jason was a delight to have on our Impactful Futures programme. He took every opportunity and pushed himself out of his comfort zone to interact with and network with people throughout the programme.

“A highlight for me was seeing him presenting and pitching in front of a group of third sector leaders, and giving an impromptu acceptance speech at our graduation where he accepted his Best Speaker award. His warm and inclusive nature created a really positive experience for his peers.

“Jason is a wonderful young man, clearly growing in confidence and taking risks to push the boundaries of his capabilities. I have no doubt he has a very bright future ahead of him.”

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Drive forward your skills on engineering work experience

Want to gain work experience in the engineering sector? Here’s our top tips for success.

Engineering work experience is an excellent opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience in their chosen field and develop practical skills that are essential for future careers.

In recent years, the demand for engineering jobs in the UK has been steadily increasing. According to Engineering UK, there is a yearly demand for around 124,000 engineers and technicians in the UK.

Many of our Engineering diploma students at Capital City College Group go on to university to specialise in civil, mechanical, electrical, technological and chemical engineering.

During their studies they have the opportunity to undertake work placements with industry employers including Siemens, McLaren, Ardmore, Morgan Sindall and SCS Railways.

If you are considering a career in engineering, here are our top tips on how to gain work experience and make the most of your time on placement.

  • Research the Industry

Before applying for any work experience placement, it’s essential to research the industry to understand the types of engineering roles and the skills required. This research will help you to determine the area of engineering that best fits your interests and career aspirations. Look for information on the latest trends, challenges and job opportunities within the sector.

  • Network with Professionals

Networking with professionals in the industry is an excellent way to gain insights and learn about the various job roles and opportunities within the field. Attend industry events, conferences and join online communities to connect with professionals. Make sure to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve from these interactions and prepare relevant questions beforehand.

  1. Apply Early

Engineering work experience placements can be competitive with limited places. To increase your chances of securing a placement, apply early. Research and identify companies that interest you, and then apply well in advance to increase your chances of success. Many companies have a fixed application period, so make sure to check their websites for specific dates.

  • Be Flexible

When applying for engineering work experience, be open to different roles and companies. It’s essential to gain experience in different areas to understand which career path suits you best. Also, many companies offer placements in different locations, which could offer different experiences and opportunities. Be flexible and open-minded to make the most of your work experience.

  • Prepare for the Placement

Before starting your work experience placement, take the time to prepare. Research the company, their values, culture and the work they do. Look for information on the projects you will be working on and try to understand how they fit into the broader context of the company. Also, make sure you are aware of any safety protocols and procedures you need to follow.

  • Show Initiative

During your work experience placement, it’s essential to show initiative and take on responsibility where possible. Demonstrate your interest in the work, ask questions and seek feedback. This proactive approach will show your commitment to the placement and the industry and could lead to further opportunities in the future.

  • Build Relationships

Building positive relationships with colleagues and supervisors during your work experience placement is crucial. These relationships could lead to valuable industry connections, future work opportunities and references. Make sure to take the time to get to know your colleagues, attend social events and show a positive attitude.

Apply now for CCCG courses and apprenticeships in Engineering here and Rail Engineering here.

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