Could you inspire undergraduates to enter your profession?

By Anita Jaynes on 9 April, 2015

Villiers Park Educational Trust is successfully enabling young people from less advantaged backgrounds in Swindon, Wiltshire and the rest of the UK to reach their full academic potential and progress to university.  However, there is considerable inequality in terms of career opportunities for these students when they graduate.  Because of their disadvantaged backgrounds they are far less likely to get a job in the professions they would like than their peers, even if they have been to the same university and obtained the same degree grade.

To overcome this situation Villiers Park have created the ‘Shaping Your Future’ initiative which connects some of their recent undergraduate alumni with professionals who are willing to be career mentors.  Being a career mentor requires a commitment to occasional contact, via email, with one or two alumni to answers questions; as well as to provide advice and guidance where requested.  Villiers Park are looking to expand their range of career mentors and are keen to engage companies in Swindon and Wiltshire in this initiative.

What’s in it for you?
·         You gain access to some of our 4,000 current undergraduate alumni who have either taken part in our Scholars Programme (four year pathway for students from less advantaged backgrounds to raise their attainment and aspirations) and Inspiring Excellence Programme (challenging, transformational five-day subject-specific residentials) all of whom have progressed to some of the top UK universities.  These students have also developed their resilience, confidence, team working, research and presentation skills – all of which prepare them for the world of work.
·         You have the opportunity to attract these top graduates to work for you by promoting your vacancies, internships, apprenticeship and, work placements
·         You can use this initiative as evidence of your commitment to your CSR programme
·         You will have the satisfaction that you are helping to overcome the inequality in career opportunities for bright students from less advantaged backgrounds
·         Your employees will develop new skills, grow in confidence and help to promote the benefits of both their career and your organisation

How does it work?
·         Our website will have a dedicated area which will list all our career mentors by first name, with a short biography and your company’s logo – no personal contact details or surnames will be included
·         Our alumni will be able to filter career mentors by industry sector, enabling them to see a range of career opportunities and select the right potential mentor for them
·         We understand that our mentors are busy professionals and are volunteering their time to help our students, so to ensure that a mentor does not have too many requests we will manage the introduction process and will not introduce Villiers Park students without making contact with them first.

What next?
If your company is able to, and wants to, encourage employees to become career mentors please:

·         Click on this link to find out more about the initiative
·         Call 01223 872601 and ask for Abbie
·         Email development@villierspark.org.uk