Corporate and Programmes Manager, Volunteer Ireland
Many students do not know what they want to do when they finish school. That’s why it’s important they have the opportunity to learn about the different career options available.
Students from challenged socio-economic backgrounds often believe that educational attainment and career success is not within their grasp and can have limited knowledge about the range of career options that exist. It is important to create awareness among students of a range of different career options and career paths, which they may not be aware of via their own social network.
It is important to create awareness among students of a range of different career options and career paths, which they may not be aware of via their own social network.
How we are supporting students
Dublin’s North East Inner City (NEIC) has taken a creative approach to supporting young people in the inner city during COVID-19 with an online programme known as ‘Flash Mentoring’. National College of Ireland, on behalf of NEIC, ran the online programme over the 2020/21 academic year. The programme is designed to be high impact, without requiring a large commitment from participating schools, students or employee volunteer mentors.
The programme provides a great way for students to learn about different career options
is from company volunteers who share their individual experience about their job, company, school, college and career path. The volunteers provide many relatable stories of challenges they have faced, obstacles they have overcome and triumphs too. The insights, guidance and career stories help students to build confidence in themselves, raise career aspirations and even start to help build a professional network.
During the programme, students were provided with a series of short, low pressure, once-off meetings with a range of experienced professionals from a variety of companies with a diverse set of backgrounds and careers, from a range of industry sectors. The programme took place virtually and often started with a panel style Q&A discussion prior to the one-to-one meetings.
The programme has engaged 169 company employee volunteers, all of whom have been Garda Vetted and has resulted in over 200 students being supported.
Feedback from students
The stats from the programme are encouraging. Of those students that completed the follow up questionnaire, 98% reported that they felt they had benefited from participating in the programme, 95% said they would recommend the Flash Mentoring programme to next year’s students, 61% recorded that the programme gave them a better idea of what they would like to do when they finish school and 74% stated that the experience made them think differently about what it is like to work or start a career.