Speed Mentoring not Speed Dating
Wings of Hope Charity Enlist Top Young Professionals to Mentor Teenagers About the World of Work In One Afternoon, as Youth Unemployment Reaches 19-yr high
On Saturday 11th February over 400 teenagers gathered, at the prestigious Royal College of Surgeons in Holborn for an afternoon of innovative speed mentoring by over sixty top young professionals. The event was hosted by The Wings of Hope Children’s Charity whose mission is to “Empower through Education”, with projects in the UK, India and Malawi. The event was targeted at 14-20 year olds who had exclusive access to professionals from over thirty industries including banking, law, accountancy, fashion, PR, event management, sustainability, music production, acting and enterprise. With eight-minute slots over a two-hour period, the students were able to get key insights into a wide variety of industries.
With youth unemployment at a 19-year high, entering the world of work is a daunting task. This event differs from usual career fairs, with useful interactive advice coming directly from the professionals – most of whom were under the age of 30. Smruti , 25, the organiser of the event says, “I have been involved with Wings of Hope since I was 17-years old and have grown up with the charity. I am privileged to have some great friends in top industries, all of whom have always wanted to mentor, but just haven’t found a route to do it or have very time-pressured jobs. I thought that we could replicate the speed-dating model for mentoring. That way the students get access to a large variety of industries, and mentors get to impart advice to a large number of students, all in one afternoon.”
Invitations of the event were sent out by YouTube video to all past and current participants of The Wings of Hope Achievement Award, as well as teachers. The up-take was huge, with teachers rushing to sign up the few remaining places for their students. Garry Bowe, Headmaster of Wellingborough School chartered a mini-bus from Northampton to Central London so that his students could attend the weekend event. “Our young people are entering an increasingly competitive jobs market and the greater understanding they can gain from young professionals the better informed they will be. This mentoring event will contribute towards that”.
The Rt Hon Lord McNally, Deputy Leader of the House of Lords launched the event, commending Wings of Hope on the innovation and ambitiousness of the event. “When Rajni told me about the event, I thought gosh how are they going to pull this off, but I should not have been surprised – what a fantastic turnout for a Saturday afternoon!”
Feedback from the event was incredibly positive, with over 53% of student-mentees rating the event either 9 or above out of 10 and over 87% rating it 8 or above. Popular industries included entrepreneurship, acting, fashion, accountancy, medicine and law.
The Wings of Hope Achievement Award (WOHAA) is a social-enterprise programme that gives over 15,000 secondary school students in years 9-13 in the UK, the opportunity to lead and organise events and projects whilst developing essential transferable skills in enterprise, leadership, communication, and teamwork. Examples of student projects include 72-hour football matches, lobbying the High Commissioner to Malawi, crossing every station on the London Underground and Quidditch matches. Supporters of the charity include Sir David Jason, Simon Bird from the Inbetweeners, Lord McNally, CEOs of Saatchi & Saatchi, Tata Consultancy Services and Edelman. Winners of WOHAA get an all expenses paid trip to India to teach at the partner schools and see first-hand where their funds are being used.
The industries covered at the event were:
Architecture and Arts
Acting & Theatre
Fashion & Event Management
HR & Headhunting
Trading and Equity Research
Academia and Politics
Consulting & Finance
Media & Advertising
Journalism & Publishing
WOHAA Winners & Fundraising
Wings of Hope, Speed Mentoring – World of Work event photos:
The Rt. Hon Lord McNally, launched the event. The backdrop of youth unemployment at a 19 year high highlighted the importance of the event for students of today
Founders of The Wings of Hope Dr Sri Ram and his wife Rajni Sriram at the Royal College of Surgeons event
Dawn Butler, Former Minister for Youth Enterprise and Civil Engagement closed the event, with a motivational rendition of “I know I can, be what I wanna be, if I work hard at it, I’ll be where I wanna be”
Smruti, Head of the Professionals’ Network for the Wings of Hope, organised the event
Everyone say “WOHAA!”
Speed Mentoring Countdown Clock and Gong. 8 minutes per industry station were given to mentors and mentees.
View from the Top: Balcony view of the Edward Lumley Hall at the Royal College of Surgeons
Students giving an interview about the event to WOHAA winner 09/10 Georgina Robb
Architecture and Arts – Kate Jones from the Royal Institute of British Architects and The V&A museum
Acting & Theatre – Youtube sensation Matt Lacey (“Gap Yah”) tells students about his acting and stand-up comedy experiences
Fashion & Event Management – teams from Topshop, Jackson Couture and Instinctif
HR & Headhunting – teams from Fashion Fair, and Whistles
HR & Headhunting
Entrepreneur – Tom Latchford, Raising IT being interviewed about his experiences of setting up his own business as a graduate
Entrepreneur – Siddharth Singh, Made with Joy, tells students about the thrills of setting up a business and the reality of sustaining it
Trading and Equity Research – Jerome and Zvetelina abour their experiences on the trade floor at top Investment Banks in the City
Trading and Equity Research – Mayan Uthayakumar on his experiences of further study in finance and now in Equity Research
Academia and Politics – Dawn Butler, former Minister of Youth Enterprise on running elections. Temi from the University of Cambridge on a career in academia.
Accountancy – Seita and Neil from top accountancy firm PwC on their experiences on the graduate programme
Banking – Charlie Spencer, from top investment bank, Rothschild, on life as an investment banker in the current economic climate.
Consulting – Business Strategy Consultants, Jennifer and Amit from Deloitte and British Airways
Economics – top economists from the Bank of England, and Her Majesty’s Treasury, Amar Radia, Sagar Shah and Nitika Agarwal
Feedback from student attendees
Media & Advertising – Samira tells the packed student table of her experiences in the Future Media team at the BBC
Music – James Anderson giving students the “real-deal” on music production and working in the music industry with a variety of artists.
Journalism & Publishing – Bella tells students about life in Publishing at top publishing company Random House, and Madhu on life as an assistant editor at Wired Magazine.
Law: Solicitor – Deepak, Cameron and Nikita were mentoring the very popular law table – all working at top city law firms, including Clifford Chance, and Fox Williams
Law: Barrister – Adam spoke to students about life as a student for the Bar, whilst Clare and Annabel spoke about their jobs working in different courts as real-life barristers
Engineering – Pulkit and Ritika enthused students about the importance of engineering in all aspects of life.
Sustainability – Ed and Luke spoke about their differing roles in sustainability, with Ed talking about working at energy company BP. Luke talked about the importance of sustainability on all corporate agendas
Medicine – Romelie and Sarah offered practical and useful advice to students, from gaining work experience at GP practices to working in a fast-paced hospital environment
Medicine – Mandy and Mel spoke of their experiences as doctors, having trained and studied at Imperial College London
WOHAA Winners & Fundraising – Hamza and Georgina inspired other students to participate in the Wings of Hope Achievement Award. Hamza was a winner in 08/09 and travelled to India to visit to the school