EdComs are proud of both our own CSR activity and that of our sponsors and the positive impact these activities have on schools and communities.
EdComs have strong links with schools across the UK, but wanted to give something back to a local school – School 21 – by supporting an extended work experience scheme for two Year 10 students. The work enabled the students to gain an insight into EdComs’ core business by completing a ‘real-world learning project’, aligned to an issue that our business addresses through several of our programmes. School 21 was the perfect partner. They are an innovative school who seek to understand what is required from a 21st Century education and how they can improve their offering.
There is a general consensus that schools do not prepare young people well for working life, mainly because of the pressure on them to achieve a certain level of academic performance. Employers can play a major part in bridging the gap and offer support to schools and students. Mann et al.¹ recently highlighted that most employer engagement was ineffective at age 16, unless teenagers recalled four or more interactions. Employers offering more frequent and continuous interactions will therefore have a greater impact on helping young people to prepare for work.
Rafe and Joel are interested in a career in sport, with aspirations of becoming professional footballers. Due to the large amount of work EdComs does within the sports and leisure sector, the students were matched with our organisation. During their time at EdComs, Rafe and Joel were able to discover and explore alternative options for working within sport.
The students attended the EdComs’ offices every Wednesday afternoon for 18 weeks to conduct a research project into the attitudes of Year 10 students within their school towards sport and healthy active lifestyles. The innovative scheme provided students with the opportunity to have a more in-depth and sustained work experience project, rather than the ‘typical’ one-week intensive programme experienced by most students.
The students were eager to gain a better understanding of the work that EdComs do, what we seek to achieve, the challenges that we face, as well as what it is like to work in an office environment more generally. During the project, the students worked closely with most of the EdComs teams to help complete their research and develop their skills.
The Projects team helped the students to understand the key issues we face and how they can create a project that addresses a specific business-need. They also worked closely with the Research team to set-up and conduct their survey, as well as analysing the results before making clear recommendations. Finally, the students received presentation training from our Live team.
The project culminated with the creation of a full research report; with Rafe and Joel presenting their findings and recommendations to KPMG employees at their offices. In addition, an event was held at the EdComs offices for the students to present to Sarah Lamplough, Olympic Relations Manager and Get Set programme manager for the British Olympic Association and EdComs employees.
Speaking of the experience, Rafe said:
“I would like to say a huge thanks for having me at EdComs. It has been a thrilling experience for me and EdComs has been a place for me to know what a real life job is like.”
School 21 were also extremely positive about the project, the impact it had on the students and EdComs’ involvement. Hannah Barnett, Senior Programme Officer at School 21 stated:
“Thanks so much for all the hard work you and the team have put in there. The boys have absolutely loved their placement with you and are so sad to finish. It was apparent today [at the presentation], how comfortable they felt at EdComs and how much your team have welcomed them into the organisation.
Their confidence and presence during their presentation today was so fantastic to see and really took me by surprise. When they told me about the session, they seemed so nervous I was a little worried about how they would do. However, what brilliant character and gravitas they showed – something which many adults struggle with. The growth I have seen in Joel and Rafe has been amazing and all of that is down to you! Thanks again – you really have made such a huge difference to the boys.”
EdComs were delighted to see how the students developed over the course of their time with us. EdComs are keen to build on the project and offer this type of opportunity to other young people within our local community in the coming years.
¹ Dr A. Mann, Dr ET. Kashefpakdel, J. Rehill and Prof. P. Huddlestone, Contemporary transitions: Young Britons reflect on life after secondary school and college, 2017.