This summer, Citi hosted 95 internships across the UK as part of our wider programme that prepares young people for the world of work. Hundreds of Citi staff volunteered their time, delivering Masterclasses, one-to-one mentoring and supervising one or more of the many interns. The success of the programme at Citi is thanks in great part to the experience, expertise and dedication of this team of willing volunteers who are transforming lives for the better.
“Citi have been working with Career Ready students for more than 10 years. Having students in our workplace has opened our eyes to the talent on our doorstep,” says James Bardrick, UK Country Officer. Following the findings of The Citi Foundation’s Accelerating Pathways research, in May, Career Ready launched its 140 Hours campaign to encourage more businesses to follow Citi’s lead and offer four-week paid internships and make 140 hours the gold standard, a gold standard that boosts social mobility, while simultaneously bridging the skills gap and developing a business’ talent pipeline.
“Employers need to be even more forthcoming and make a greater effort to help students open their eyes to the range of careers open to them,” Bardrick continues.
This year, a new panel of Citi volunteers was formed to further develop the quality and value of the internship experience for both the students and staff supervisor, ensuring staff felt fully prepared and supported throughout. This included supervisor briefings, face-to-face inductions, and Personal Development Plans to help evaluate each student’s development needs and objectives. In addition, a full four-week calendar of activities was scheduled as a guide for supervisors, plus an internal collaborative site for supervisors to share resources and best practice.
Feedback from both student interns and their supervisors is always incredibly positive, and the impact is clear too: 98% of Career Ready graduates progress into education or employment after leaving schools, compared with a national average of 88%.
Rron Bajgora, a Career Ready student and Citi intern, admits himself that he “lacked skills and confidence” having not had any previous experience of the world of work before, but says proudly “my experience at Citi changed all that. The best part of my internship was gaining skills and experiences that I will hold throughout my life.”
Mike O’Connor, Global Head of Access Strategies, heard about the programme from a colleague and wanted to get involved. “I knew I had a fairly interesting story because of the background I came from, and I wanted to share my experience to encourage students from a variety of backgrounds to aim high and realise their potential. This had a big impact on me – the students were giving up their time to try and learn more and that made me realise the power of the Career Ready experience.”
Looking ahead, in 2017/18, the Citi Foundation will continue to support Career Ready in expanding its reach, engaging more young people across the UK than ever before, through a range of new initiatives including:
- directly supporting 170 students on the Career Ready Core Programme in London, Belfast and Dublin;
- embedding a whole-school careers blueprint in 11 London schools, benefitting 2,000+ students;
- promoting the positive impact of mentoring and paid internships to employers through the production of a new suite of visual case studies featuring Citi volunteers and interns;
- sponsoring the ‘Volunteer of the Year Award’ at Career Ready’s national awards ceremony.
Would you like to help open up the world of work for a student on our programme? Register your interest in mentoring, delivering a Masterclass at a school near you or hosting an internship today and ‘Get Involved.’