This entry was shortlisted in the 2012 Peer Award “Education for the Community” category
Creating work-life skills for underprivileged young adults
skills-based learning program for St Christopher’s Fellowship
The young people at St Christopher’s Fellowship (SCF) have been displaced from home for various reasons and are often without consistent role models in this stage of their lives. We created workshops focused on inspiring and motivating young people to build their future vision of themselves. A series of short exercises helped them think about their future outside of their now, where they would like to go and what they would like their external brand to be to ensure the best first and ongoing impressions.
Through these workshops young people got to meet new people and interact with professionals and build their first network. They get to experience an office environment and learn first-hand that an office environment can be fun, dynamic and relaxed, and needs a vast range of skills and experience to be successful. They also realise that people who work in the office are just like them. St Christopher’s have told us that as a result of these workshops 60% of the young people we have come into contact with have gone on to find employment or further education programs.
These workshops were borne out of conversations with the young people of SCF and their care workers. At IP & Science business of Thomson Reuters we wanted a program that builds their key skills for the future and has a strong, longer-lasting impact. For young people to get their first foothold in business it falls under the old saying of it’s who you know not what you know. We want to help make these opportunities happen and encourage the young people to remain in contact with us, even if it’s as simple as letting us know how they’re getting on.
Looking back on the workshops we have run, we really want to encourage more of the young people to think outside of the box and for them to realise they shouldn t be afraid to be creative. This is how great leaders and innovators are born. Even though we have had a success rate of 60% over all we would like to raise that number to 80% so that each person who completes our workshop takes something away that supports their growth and the community.
As employees we have been fortunate to benefit from an excellent learning and development program and have been actively encouraged to build our skills and knowledge. Our inspiration behind this project was about giving back and to do something that would allow us to share these skills and knowledge that would make a difference to someone s life. These young adults may not get offered some of the opportunities that we have been offered us when we were growing up. It was the simplest form of giving back while encouraging their growth and self belief.
Geoffrey Williams has been with the IP & Science business of Thomson Reuters for three and half years, most recently as a Talent & Development Specialist. Geoffrey is also part of the Business Consultation Forum, a peer-to-peer elected volunteer action team responsible for driving charitable and community related activities into the business. Prior to joining Thomson Reuters Geoffrey worked in the music industry as an artist/events manager. The idea for this project came from watching TV and having a long Christmas break to think about how he could best serve his community. Geoffrey has combined his areas of expertise to develop this programme.