"With a background in education and career guidance, I was inspired to join the London Enterprise Adviser Network in April 2016. This is an innovative programme which matches business volunteers with schools to develop in-depth careers education. I was soon matched to Beam County Primary School in Dagenham, and looked forward to sharing my experiences with the young students.
Prior to joining the EA network, I had worked as a science teacher back in Nigeria, and as an ICT Network manager at Queens Park Community School in Kilburn, London. I am also a skilled life coach and used these techniques to deliver Human Resources solutions to organisations in the UK and abroad. I felt I had a lot to offer the network.
When I began volunteering at Beam County Primary I worked with the school’s careers lead to identify our focus. Between myself, the school and the EA Network we decided to develop their relationship between education, aspiration and human development, hoping to inspire the students in the process.
We organised a ‘Work Week’ which included an exciting list of activities with professionals, industry experts and guest speakers. including Unmesh Desai, a member of London Assembly.
The Work Week attracted a wide variety of organisations, such as Dagenham Fire Station, Tesco, ASDA, Harvester, Dogs Trust, Pizza Express, West Ham United and many others. We also hosted workshops on presentation skills, how to show a positive attitude, as well as a speed networking and Dragon’s Den-style enterprise competition. These activities all complemented each other, so students were increasing their exposure to the world of work as well as learning more about skills they need for the future.
We also collaborated with a PhD researcher at London School of Economics to develop and implement an ‘aspirations event’. This was based on an underlying idea that a student’s effort at school can be affected by their career goals, which in turn can be shaped by the role models they observe. Children who lack aspirational role models may not see a return on their efforts and thus underperform academically.
The Enterprise Adviser Network has been such a success in supporting Beam County Primary School, and I’m so proud to be a part of it. We’ve helped to raise aspirations and enthusiasm for learning, and prepare the young people for the world of work. We are looking forward to another successful year ahead with the network at the school!"
Written by Enterprise Adviser Olutayo Thomas
If you would like to support a local London school with their careers and skills agenda, get in touch and find out more on the Enterprise Adviser website.