London’s employers lead the way on new mentoring initiative

London’s largest employers gathered together on Thursday 21 July for an evening of networking with business volunteers from across the capital.

The event, run by national charity Career Ready, was generously hosted by new supporters, Holman Fenwick Willan at their London offices, and came in the same week that the Careers and Enterprise Company, who have been funded by the government to lead the development of an England-wide employer-led careers strategy, have announced a new mentoring fund.

Career Ready has been delivering mentoring with young people for 14 years. Anne Spackman, Chief Executive of Career Ready, said: “We launched our mentor networking events as a way to provide an opportunity for volunteers to share best practice. 

“Mentoring by its very nature is a private, one-to-one relationship, and events like this allow both volunteers and mentees to feel part of a wider community and share the rewarding experience with a wider network.”

Students on the programme had the chance to network with professionals from UK-wide and multi-national businesses, including Citi, Santander, Lloyds Banking Group, Turner & Townsend and Travelodge. The event brought together students with their mentors and their internship supervisors.

Kathryn Hull, Corporate Responsibility Manager at Holman Fenwick Willan, said: “We are delighted to be able to host you all this evening – it is an excellent way to mark the start of our new partnership with Career Ready, which will see us supporting the first ever cluster of schools and colleges in Southwark.

“I first began working with Career Ready in a previous role, eight years ago. It is a programme I feel passionate about and I am delighted to still be able to support it. Career Ready helps companies like Holman Fenwick Willan to reach out to young people and we hope that all of you here this evening will embark on successful careers at the end of the programme.”

Raisa Baig, a Career Ready student from Harris Academy Greenwich, said: “Before I met my mentor I was really nervous – I wasn’t sure I would have enough to talk to her about as I didn’t have a clear career path ahead of me.

“My mentor Emily has helped to expose me to a variety of different types of work environments and even arranged for me to have some work experience at her company, JD Marketing. 

“I’ve learned so much from my mentor – I know if I have a problem she will be there to help and I’m so grateful for her support.”

Taking part in the Career Ready programme can significantly improve students’ achievement both in school or college and afterwards. 98% of students who completed the Career Ready programme in 2015 said their aspirations had been raised as a result.

Anne Spackman continued: “When we first started students didn’t want to have a mentor – it was seen as a stigma to need extra help. But now most CEOs in FTSE 100 companies have mentors. We all need the support of someone outside our friends and family network to help us continue developing in our careers."