Making sure our young people feel equipped for their professional lives is as important to The Ashcombe as it is to the impressive range of businesses and organisations that actively support this Surrey-based comprehensive secondary school. Local companies such as Pfizer and Unilever recognise how valuable it is to entice students at an early age, and, with government funding for careers services being continually cut, the school draws on expertise from the business community to deliver their full and varied careers programme.

Many companies award their employees time out of their workplace to support worthwhile causes and I chose to use my Volunteering Day to support The Ashcombe School’s ‘World of Work Week’. And what a rewarding day this was! Over the course of one school week, Year 10 students are immersed in a 360 degree view of working life – from reflecting on their strengths and personality traits in the ‘This is Me!’ sessions, to learning interview techniques, then participating in a highly interactive business game and, at the end of the week, taking part in a careers speed-dating session.

I was delighted to be appointed ‘advisor’ for the business game, run by local company Acumina. My remit was to guide a group of six 14 – 15 year olds who were tasked with putting on a corporate event. Each pupil was assigned a role covering project management, catering, marketing and finance, and I was hugely impressed with how these young people worked together, listening to each other ideas and brainstorming solutions. They recognised their own and others’ skillsets and fully planned an event I would have been honoured to be invited to.

When taking part in initiatives such as this, the African proverb comes to mind ‘It takes a whole village to raise a child’. By investing some time and the skills and experiences we have as adults, we can help create a future that benefits us all. It’s so encouraging to see more and more businesses allowing individual employees to do this.

The Ashcombe School would be delighted to hear from any business volunteers to support with their upcoming events:

Careers Fair, 6pm 17th September 2018

Apprenticeship Fair, November 2018

by Sarah Walker