School-Home Support (SHS) partners from a range of sectors including law, financial service and asset management ensured children and parents we support had the opportunity to learn about working life in city firms. Aspiration Sessions provide valuable insight and break down barriers to employment in the city.
In November 2018, three of our corporate partners hosted aspiration sessions for 32 children and parents from two primary schools and one secondary school.
Sidley is a 150-year-old legal firm with a global reach and a desire to support charitable organisations – both in the local communities that it works in and internationally. Fourteen Sidley volunteers from the London office gave their time to talk to children from Maryland Primary School and their parents to give them an insight into the world of work and discuss the different routes into work, from internships to graduate schemes. The Sidley volunteers shared their personal stories about how they became Sidley employees, their current roles and what it is like working for a law firm. Splitting up into teams, the Sidley volunteers took the students around the office as the students asked other departments about their work – the IT department, Legal library and post room were a big hit!
“I learnt that it is OK to change your mind when you are still at school and decide what you want to do when you are older.” – Maryland Primary School student
“It’s been an honour and an inspiration to me and the rest of the group. I met other lone parents who inspired me and learnt tips on how to save! I also learnt that I should not feel guilty as a working mother because my kids will appreciate it in the long run.” – Gina, Parent
“I really enjoyed this morning. Some of the students asked very interesting questions, so I learned things about the firm as well. They were a pleasure to deal with. It was really interesting to see my workspace from their point of view. I would love to do it again.” – Rita Fitzpatrick, Legal Secretary
The students from Tufnell Park Primary School listened eagerly to Chris Yiannakou, Managing Director of EMEA Institutional Services, as he explained how Loomis invests money for other people and organisations. Whilst sitting around a boardroom table, the students asked Chris about his background and what he enjoyed about his job. The students were advised to avoid pigeonholing themselves at an early age and to remember that there are a variety of roles in any organisation. The Loomis volunteers created a series of fun activities to give both children and their parents an insight into wealth management, trading and research and how the different teams work together.
“We always look forward to participating in the SHS Aspiration Days, especially when the children are so enthusiastic and ask such good (and tricky!) questions, as the boys and girls from Tufnell Park Primary School did. Always a pleasure!” – Chris Yiannakou, Managing Director
“I learned that the people who work at Loomis were once like me and thought about where they want to be in life. The aspiration session showed me how far I can go in my life.” – Samara, age 10
“We both really enjoyed the activities and really appreciated the effort that staff made to make us all understand what they do in their job roles and what it took to get there.” – Ashleen, Parent
The fun started as soon as the students from Cumberland arrived with a rapid-fire quiz about PwC, the sector and the London Bridge office surroundings and an impromptu taekwondo demonstration! The students learnt that PwC, with a global employee count of 250,900, makes companies more successful by shaping industries and building both trust and long term relationships. During the Q&A session, where PwC volunteers lined up in front of the students, the students asked about project work, entry schemes into PwC, working hours and whether they take work home with them! The volunteers talked about the jobs that they wanted to do when they were younger and commented that they like working at PwC because it is a challenge and every day is different.
“The aspiration session was fun and rewarding for the PwC staff. The children were all very enthusiastic and willing to participate in all the activities arranged, including asking some very challenging questions to senior members of staff. I look forward to helping out at more sessions in the future!” – Catherine Walton, Volunteer
“I liked the tour, the quiz and they answered all of our questions. I would like to come again!” – Cumberland student
“It is interesting to see how people got here – I thought it would just be through university!” – Cumberland student
Could your organisation help improve the life chances of disadvantaged children by inspiring school students and families we support at an Aspiration Session?
Contact Lydia Edwards, SHS Partnerships Executive, to find out more.