Abigail Burdiak, a Milton Keynes solicitor in our Wills Wealth and Probate team is a keen supporter of the Worktree ‘Work Out’ scheme and explains how she volunteered on Wednesday 8 July 2015 at St Paul’s Catholic School, Milton Keynes.
“I have participated in the Worktree “Work-Out” scheme twice now and have found it, on both occasions, to be a very worthwhile, rewarding experience. The scheme effectively gives students aged 14-15 the opportunity to ‘speed-date’ a variety of people in the local community. Participants in the scheme range from high-flying business people taking a day-off from their commute into London, to charity volunteers, to Police officers to bankers and, of course (being based in Milton Keynes), lawyers. The aim of the day is to give the students an insight into the wide range of jobs that are available to them and the variety of different ways to get to where they want to be.
As a participant, you take a seat and the students move around the room in groups of two or three. The groups then have a few minutes to ask you questions about what you do, whether you enjoy it and how you got there. There is absolutely no preparation required as all you have to do is talk about yourself. The aim is not to persuade the students to take a particular career path. It is to give them a real account of what it is like to do your job, whatever that may be.
In general, the students are brilliant. In some cases, they ask some very thought-provoking questions which are a stark reminder of what it was like to be at School with such passionate ideas about the future.
Personally, I think it is a great scheme. I wish that I had been offered a similar opportunity when I was at School.’
Tom Bulman at Worktree added ‘We believe that introducing young people to a large number of diverse workers is the most effective way of developing their career awareness and employability skills. That’s why our vision of every Milton Keynes student meeting 50 work guests before leaving school is so important and why we are thrilled to have Shoosmiths staff joining WorkOut sessions so readily. It’s fast, informative and fun.
What is on the horizon for other volunteering opportunities with Worktree? Our Career WorkOut 50 scheme, which launches next month with three Milton Keynes secondary schools will provide an annual WorkOut session for every student in the school.
This is a significant scale-up for Worktree, as it will involve us delivering 150 sessions over the coming year (300 in 2016/2017). Our challenge is to recruit work guests to volunteer a total of 1,500 hours. We anticipate that at least half will do more than one each year, so we aim to recruit 400 new work guests to add to our existing database of 350. We relish the challenge but of course we’ll need as much help as possible from Milton Keynes business leaders. Who knows which worker will spark a light bulb moment for any given student? Sometimes something small, like seeing a work guest wearing the same shoes as your mother has, can be a lightbulb moment for a student!