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Careers Guide

How to convince your team that everyone should be involved in early careers volunteering

You’ve nailed down your agenda, produced a top-class timetable of events and now you’re eagerly awaiting a response from your detailed email to recruit volunteers. 

Unfortunately, the team haven’t replied yet. Sound familiar? We thought so. 

Just know you’re not alone. Busy teams, conflicting priorities, changing deadlines - even furlough – all these things can get in the way of enticing colleagues to help out on your careers events. Luckily for you – we’re here to help you overcome your teams’ objections with our key pointers on why early careers volunteering can be a valuable investment for both young people and your team.   

Engagement – the FAQs 

To engage your teams in your work experience agenda, you need to help them to understand the impact they can have. Be ready for the FAQs:  

  • How much time is this going to take?

  • What’s in it for me?

  • They get this support at school!

  • Are these events even worth it?

  • I ‘fell’ into this job, I’m definitely not interesting enough.

(And whilst we’re in lockdown) …. 

  • Will these events work online?

  • I’m furloughed now so I don’t think I can help?

With some of these examples in mind, it’s useful to note that the real reason for team members avoiding taking up volunteering is usually down to a lack of understanding.

So, let’s address some of these points in more detail. 

Do something great

Focus on the ‘why’

Are these events even worth it? 

For many of our students, an insight day is likely to be the very first time they interact with business professionals. Put simply, their very first encounter of the world of work will be at your event. This isn’t something to downplay, as there’s widespread reporting on the advantages, both in terms of students' confidence but also their drive, motivation and purpose.

The value of careers events are compounded further when we consider social mobility, and the students who may not have otherwise found out about your industry. It really is life-changing stuff. 

 Students get this support at school

One of the greatest misconceptions around early careers is that schools provide a standardised careers curriculum. In reality, whilst most schools would love to do this, a lack of time and heavy focus on traditional grading often leaves employability to fall by the wayside.

At Uptree, our school partnership programme bridges the gap between schools and work, and help schools to unlock a first class careers curriculum in partnership with our amazing employers. You can hear the benefits first hand from one of our students here.

Mental Health

What’s in it for me?

Volunteering can work wonders for team morale and mental health. This year's Mental Health Awareness Week defines its core theme of kindness as ‘not just an emotion, but our actions towards others’. A range of studies concluded that those who carry out acts of kindness are found to experience greater wellbeing.

Taking part in a work experience day is altruistic, it will leave your volunteers feeling genuinely rewarded and fulfilled. What’s not to love!

Flexible and diverse

How much time is this going to take?

Whilst work experience events come in all shapes and sizes, there are a few core elements that never change. There’s a huge myth that volunteer involvement needs to be lengthy. Your agenda could include a variety of engagement tasks, from Q&A panels, speed networking or a professional speaker. By offering a mix of these options, you’ll create a flexible plan that works alongside, not against, your team's workload.  

 I ‘fell’ into this job, I’m definitely not interesting enough

Actually… you probably are!

Authenticity and genuine experiences are by far the best part of a successful careers event and the more diverse your volunteering pool the better. It’s likely that these are the people who can truly relay what it’s like to work for your organisation and can offer insights into lesser known jobs.

So, get everybody on board - whether it’s current apprentices or your I.T team – anybody who can tell your company’s story will be a fantastic addition to the day. 

Lockdown

Are online events even worth it?

In short, a big YES.

When asking our network what they wanted to hear most during lockdown , an overarching theme was around how to stay motivated, and how to keep getting work experience opportunities from home. Online work experience days have added benefits when it comes to reinstating some normality and routine at the moment, and you can read more here on why we think they matter now more than ever.  

I’m furloughed now so I don’t think I can help

 So, this is a valid one. The government states that anybody on furlough cannot engage in work activities, so it’s likely that staff on temporary leave will have to postpone. This said, there’s still no reason why your volunteers can’t attend the day, pick up some tips and leave feeling inspired to play a bigger role in your next event. 

We can help 

Overall, it’s good to remember, it takes time and skill to manage volunteers and to run a successful work experience day, so don’t worry if you don’t get it quite right first time. Ask colleagues, your manager or people teams – not forgetting your current apprentices, interns or graduates - and be kind to yourself! If you’re reading this, you’re already well on the way to designing a future-proof talent strategy that works for everyone whilst meeting your recruitment goals. 

And, if the above isn’t convincing enough, you can also work with us at Uptree to run an ‘Uptree Lunch and Learn’, where we will relay the fantastic impact your business partnership has had (or could have!) and how it’s helping students now more than ever. 

 If you’d like to get in touch with us to talk more about running an event with our students, then please don’t hesitate to contact us via info@uptree.co