Want to change the life of a young person in a week? Inspiresme Week has been set up by the Workspace Group, the Greater London Authority and Business in the Community (BITC) to allow businesses to reach out and help young people gain experience and confidence in the professional world.
It's a scheme which is specifically aimed at helping young people gain valuable insight into the inner workings of startups and small businesses so they can learn entrepreneurial skills on the ground.
Last year, over 70 students interned at businesses across the Workspace portfolio. Some students found themselves filming podcasts at press relations agencies, meeting musicians and bands at digital agencies or designing jewellery with expert artisans.
19-year-old Melda Akis from Aylward Academy, North London, spent a couple of days working with Elin Haf Davis, a freelance consultant, who advises on paediatric research and clinical trials. She said: 'The best experience I’ve gained was taking part in day-to-day meetings and working as part of a team.'
We also talked to Desiree Hooper from Aylwood Academy and Nicola Hunt from Nightingale Academy who both look after employability, community and training at their schools and have been involved in the scheme since it started three years ago.
Desiree said, “It's been fantastic. One of the students, Hector was saying that he’s amazed by the fact that people who are young have built up a business. Being in the workplace with young entrepreneurs really has opened his eyes.”
Nicole added, “Yes, I agree. They can see how people have taken their passions and made it into a business. It has opened their eyes to the wide spectrum of businesses out there. And many of our students are creative and don’t get a chance to show it… especially in a professional context.”
“And that’s why this scheme is important," continued Desiree. "These small businesses don’t have the internship schemes and so it’s harder to gain experience in them.”
“We're grateful for anything employers can offer. Qualifications and academic results are important but those other skills are vital. These are life skills they'll use forever.”
Your business can support young people by hosting one or more students for a four-day work experience placement (15-18 February) and supporting them at a one day Enterprise Challenge and Celebration Event (on the 19 February).
To sign up for InspiresMe week, businesses need to follow the link and complete the InspiresMe Week Business Proforma. It is a short form which allows us to find out about the business and the type of placement on offer.