Employee volunteering has been rising in recent years, and employers in London’s financial districts have been leading the way with many tens of thousands of valuable hours donated (including several thousand to the Brokerage).
But what is the ideal volunteering activity?
We think it might be something immediately rewarding, as well as with a longer term impact. Something that makes use of a volunteer’s unique skills, knowledge and experience. An activity that is relevant to the business and the wider industry.
Perhaps something that any member of staff can take part in, no matter their specific job role nor level of experience or seniority? How about something that is as convenient as possible for volunteers to get to, and involves minimal time away from their desk? An activity that require little, or no, preparation beforehand?
If this sounds like the perfect volunteering opportunity for you or your staff, read on to find out how to get involved!
For the last 14 years, the Brokerage is bringing students out of classrooms in state schools across some of London’s most disadvantaged boroughs and giving them the chance to experience first-hand the exciting world of business and finance.
This work has steadily expanded over the years, and now more than 3,000 young people every year get their first taste of the working world in the offices of some of the biggest employers in the world. Primary schools, secondary schools and sixth form colleges are all using our workplace visits to raise the aspirations of their students, broaden their horizons and reinforce the importance of education.
From day one, the key to the success of this work has been the involvement of City volunteers – these visits are not just a walk around the outside of an office, or a visit to a museum, but a real chance to experience networking with real life City professionals and get a realistic, balanced insight into working from those that are doing it themselves.
“It felt good to try and give something back having been in a similar position 10 years ago.”
Each trip sees students sitting down face to face with company volunteers from a variety of roles, backgrounds and experience, giving the participants a chance to drive the agenda and find out for themselves what people actually do in their professions, how they got there, what they enjoy about it (or what they don’t enjoy) and what advice they would give to a young person aspiring to be, one day, in the same position.
The young participants go away with a refreshed perspective on what their future may hold. For the many that are inspired to find out more about a future career in business, finance or law, the Brokerage’s Pathway of Opportunities provides further ways for them develop their skills, knowledge and confidence and, through our internship and recruitment services, actually enter the City workforce. It is not a one-off experience into an unobtainable world, but the start of a real journey into a successful future career.
For volunteers, it is an easy, convenient and enjoyable way to donate time to something that will make an immediate and lasting impression. With volunteering activities generally taking around an hour, and often no more than an elevator ride away, it will not mean many hours or days away from work. Our simplest and most common activities involve little more than volunteers answering questions about themselves and their workplace, so no preparation is required aside from reading a short briefing document.
For employers, hosting workshops is a brilliant way to get high numbers of staff involved in volunteering, and with literally anyone welcome to join our workshops (we really do prefer to have a full range of job roles represented, from front office to front-of-house!) and little more than an hour or so needed including travel time you can engage staff that otherwise may not be able to or interested in volunteering. Generally we need a room for around 25 people, for half a day (although there is the opportunity to host workshops of various sizes and lengths).
For those that want to volunteer more time to raising the aspirations and career prospects of young people, we have opportunities to provide “masterclasses” or insight days into your career or your company to groups of specifically interested students. Even more advanced volunteering provided for the Brokerage includes giving a group of students an in-depth guide to job applications, hosting a work experience placement in your team or mentoring.
“Volunteering with the Brokerage gave me the reward of sharing information about a career that I’d never known about when I was in school with some very eager listeners, and giving me a renewed sense of optimism about what I can do with it”
Whether it’s a class of wide-eyed primary school pupils walking two-by-two into your boardroom, or a group of talented undergraduates determined to be part of the next graduate trainee intake, we can promise you will meet an enthusiastic group of diverse young people who would likely not have otherwise had the chance to engage and learn about the City. You will go away knowing you have made a real difference to a group of young people, and made the future workforce more effective and diverse.
With opportunities throughout the year, and high demand for visits from schools and students – we would love to discuss the logistics of hosting workshops and volunteer with you and your colleagues. Contact us for more details.