Chaucer Foundation kicked off their new School-Home Support (SHS) partnership with a fun-filled aspiration session this week. A group of children and parents from a primary school in Tower Hamlets spent the morning at Chaucer’s offices in Fenchurch Street, learning about the industry. They started with the children taking ownership of, and naming a paper boat loaded with valuable cargo. Boats were sent on dangerous voyages to China (up the other end of the board room table), though some sadly fell victim to pirate attacks or were ravaged by storms. Second time round, children took up the option of insuring their boats; the right decision as stormy seas prevailed and claims needed to be made!
Bringing the insurance industry to life in such a lively and interactive way set the tone of the morning. Imagining themselves 20 years from now, the children wrote diary entries, bringing to life their dreams and aspirations. Their chosen careers included paramedics, artists, tube drivers and even Youtubers! Children and parents met a wide range of Chaucer’s staff, who talked about what it’s like working for Chaucer – going down a coal mine was possibly one of the most unexpected revelations! The group met the receptionists, “the maths guys” – the underwriters, the claims team, apprentices, facilities managers and Chaucer’s Chief Operating Officer.
Corporate partnerships are hugely important to SHS, and aspiration sessions give children and parents, who might not otherwise have the opportunity, the chance to learn about the wide range of roles available in city firms. Chaucer’s very warm welcome, thoughtful planning and delicious (and super healthy) lunch certainly built bridges and challenged some misconceptions. Parents were surprised to learn that not everyone working at Chaucer has been to university and how much on the job training and support is provided. Children and parents came away with new ideas, fresh insight and increased awareness about future employment.
Thank you, Chaucer!
Feedback from the families:
Saaed, aged 10 years: “It was very interesting and I learnt a lot about insurance and how it works if things go wrong. My favourite bit was the boat game and telling them about our dreams and when the Chaucer people told us how we should always do our best.”
Jubair, aged 10 years: “It was really exciting and we got to see the office and meet lots of different people.”
Amanah, aged 9 years: “When we did the diary entry it reminded me of exciting things I want to be when I am older and I really liked it when we got see how all the people worked and what they did.”
Mahfujur, aged 10 years: “The best part was everything.”
Mum of one of the children: “When Jodie said she didn’t go to university that really shocked me, that you can come to work somewhere like this straight from college and you don’t have to study for years.”
Ayesha Taylor, SHS Practitioner: “This has been a really interesting trip learning about the type of jobs companies like Chaucer have to offer. I think it’s been inspiring for children, and also parents, to think about what kind of jobs are out there and to understand that a lot of our children can go out and get these jobs.”
Lynn Howell, member of staff at the primary school: “Chaucer were so welcoming and really included us, the children felt really valued and it was really good to see what the different roles entailed.”
Staff involved at Chaucer told us:
Dawn Herbert: “I was impressed with the level of engagement and behaviour of the children during their aspiration session, bearing in mind how young they are. Some children were inquisitive whilst others were quietly interested – some imaginative questions were asked! I was also impressed with the variety of careers they wished for and with hard work; I cannot see any reason why any of them would fulfil their dreams.
Jodie Major: “It was a really fun day with lots of laughter, the kids loved the game that taught them the whole development of underwriting at Lloyd’s via the medium of paper boats. I think listening to the kids read their diary entries from 2037 when they will be 30 years’ old and will be doing their dream jobs was amazing, it gave them a chance to imagine themselves really doing those jobs and you could see how excited they all were.”
Victoria Jarman: “It was a great opportunity for staff to learn about the charity and to be able to engage with the work that the practitioners do. I hope that we can hold future aspiration sessions for pupils and parents of Bangabandhu School.”