Inspire! is working with four Camden schools plus Westminster Kingsway College to source and manage around 800 work experience placements during the academic year 2013-14.
Two Westminster Kingsway College BTEC Business students, Jesse Obei-Ajebeng (16) and Kamila Dziuba (18), spent two weeks at City recruitment agency, JJ Associates, which specialises in the international banking industry. Jesse and Kamila are the first students that JJ Associates has hosted as Director, Jeremy (Jerry) Trevers explains: “We are aware that we are all of a similar age here and that we need to reach out to younger people. Although we have recently taken on a couple of recruits straight from university, when the call came in from Inspire!, we thought this might be a good way to help the community. Plus we figured if one of them did well and liked us, they might come back in the future.”
It was not long before the wheels were in motion. Jesse says: “My tutor told me that they had a possible place for me, so I had to ring up and do an interview on the phone. I was a bit nervous at first but after a few questions, it was OK.”
Both students cite the staff team as one of the best things about their placements. “As soon as we came, I felt welcome,” Jesse adds. “We have been given our own work to do but also, sitting alongside the other people, we got to find out what they do. They specialise in banking and they speak to lots of clients from all over the world, including Dubai and Saudi Arabia. One of the directors has just come back from there and I’ve entered some of the data.”
Data plays a major part in the firm’s operations as Kamila testifies: “We’ve been doing a lot of database work and I’ve been researching people on the internet for particular jobs. I never realised before how much time business people spend in front of a computer screen.”
Jerry Trevers says that the pair has worked wonders with the database. “We have a huge amount of data which needed sorting. They really got to grips with it in their first week and tidied it up.” There has been some light relief too. “We couldn’t let them sit at a computer screen the whole time,” Jerry quips. Kamila and Jesse were taken to the Bank of England Museum and, on their final day, were due to go the London Metal Exchange, one of the few places where live ‘open outcry’ trading still takes place.
Although neither Kamila nor Jesse harbours a desire to work in the recruitment industry, the placement has helped with valuable learning for their course work and for their own future careers. Kamila hopes to work for a charity helping young people who are homeless, while Jesse has his sights set on opening his own sports business. “After I finish my business course, I want to do some kind of sports coaching course and then, one day, open my own business to help young people get into sport.”
Inspire! sources and matches around 4,000 work experience each year for schools and colleges across Hackney and Camden. Its Camden work is part of a larger work-related learning and work experience contract funded through Camden Council’s CPEE (Camden Partnership for Educational Excellence) initiative.