RSFC Careers Week Business Breakfast
The week commencing the 7th of March 2022 was National Careers Week, National Careers Week is a celebration of careers guidance and free resources in education across the UK. The aim is to provide a focus for careers guidance activity at an important stage in the academic calendar to help support young people leaving education. Studies have shown that meaningful employer encounters boost young people’s employment prospects and that those with higher volumes of employer encounters are 86% less likely to be NEET following leaving education.
Throughout student’s time at college there are a number of opportunities for students to have meaningful encounters with employers and these are in the form of career talks/workshops, mock interviews, career-related events such as National Apprenticeship Week/Careers Week, as well as networking events, progression days and work experience. To celebrate National Careers Week, we decided to host a Business Breakfast which is a networking event for local employers and our students. This Business Breakfast was our first in-person one in over 2 years.
The Business Breakfast was held on Wednesday the 9th of March 08:30 am – 10:00 am, we invited 20 local employers along with 30 of our students. The event is an opportunity for us to thank the local employers for all the career-related support they have given us over the last year, hear from a guest speaker and provide everyone with a chance to network.
The event began with half an hour of networking for our students and local businesses as well as the chance to have some breakfast which was prepared by our amazing catering staff. We understand that networking can be quite nerve-wracking, so we decided to create a ‘Networking Bingo’ for our students to play so they had some conversation starters and questions to ask. The bingo included 12 tasks for the students to tick off and they ranged from tasks such as ‘find someone who owns their own business’, ‘speak to someone who works in the NHS’ and ‘tell 2 people your dream career’. This game went down really well with both the students and the employers, our student Zaara Hussain Ali said that she found networking with the employers ‘nerve wracking at first but the bingo definitely helped with getting us to ask questions to the people who attended’, she also said that the event ‘was a fantastic opportunity and was so helpful with getting to learn about different ways to get into a career and the best way to network’.
After half an hour of networking we provided our guests with an update on the college and our careers programme, thanking them for all their hard work over the last few years and how they can continue supporting us. We then introduced our guest speaker who was Elham Fardad. Elham's professional career spans 25 years in senior leadership roles in blue chip multinationals, where she has advised clients on their most challenging operational problems. She is the Founder and CEO of the charity Migrant Leaders, is a Fellow member of the ACCA and a member of multiple Advisory Boards. Elham has also been selected as Finalist in awards for her work on Migrant Leaders, including Charity Times Charity of the Year, Charity Leader of the Year, and the IoD Director of the Year.
Elham’s presentation covered the amazing work she does with her charity Migrant Leaders and discussed the importance of networking and how networking can help excel in your chosen career. Migrant Leaders is an independent UK registered charity that inspires and develops disadvantaged young people across the UK to broaden their horizons and capture opportunities well beyond their aspirations. The aim of the professional development programme is to support young 1st and 2nd generation migrants as well as all disadvantaged young people and to help them succeed in Britain. The programme is free and applicants are between 16 and 25 years old and they gain mentoring, workshops, work experiences and connections. They now have over 925 senior mentors from more than 95 FTSE100 and leading firms. Young people can apply to the free programme here: Candidate Application.
Following Elham’s presentation and a Q&A session we continued with a further half an hour of networking, Kathryn Grice who works for Migrant Leaders said ‘I was so impressed with the students of Rochdale Sixth Form College. They spoke with passion, were articulate and were clearly filled with potential.’ Andrew Bayley from Poole Dick Associates also stated that it was ‘Great to talk to the students and hear about their plans - all very polite and enthusiastic about their futures in business’
Our guest speaker Elham Fardad and her colleague Kathryn Grice said the event was ‘Absolutely brilliant, excellent organisation and hospitality. Thank you!’ and that ‘Everyone was really welcoming and we were so well looked after. The careers event was extremely professional and we loved our time there. We are looking forward to coming back already. We can't thank you enough for this wonderful opportunity.'
Overall, we feel that this event was a success, we have received positive feedback from both the local employers and our students, our SU Vice President Farrah Khan stated that the event ‘was incredibly enjoyable and a refreshing event as it was in-person.’ Another student Sameer Hussain said that they most enjoyed ‘being able to go around and speak with the different people that attended the event, learning more about each sector.’
The positive feedback only reinforces how valuable and important these kinds of events are and as such we will continue to host events such as our Business Breakfasts as well as all other career and progression related events. If this is something you or your company would like to be involved in and you wish to support us with our careers programme then please get in touch with our Employability Co-Ordinator Jemma Biddulph on firstname.lastname@example.org.