If you haven’t yet heard of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) you may want to have a read of this blog post first before reading on.
During the course of my work I meet a wide variety of different companies who all work in different sectors, are of varying sizes and in diverse locations, but one thing I hear on a regular basis is ‘we don’t have the capacity to take on an Intern / we don’t have time to train anyone new’. This disappoints me for many reasons, but mainly because I firmly believe that no matter how small your company is, there is always time to enable someone else to learn from your experiences.
I was recently asked to contribute to Brighton Chamber’s blog on this very topic, as part of a series of blog posts looking at alternative options to full-time employment.
The Blue Penguin Company is small – we have fewer than 5 permanent employees, yet we make time for those starting out in their careers (or those thinking about which careers they would like to be starting out in) because we recognise the importance of investing in young people. Organisations like Sussex Chamber of Commerce recognise this importance too, they recognise it so much, they even have a special award for it.
I am honoured to be included in a group of mentors at the University of Sussex Business School. This year I was graciously invited to take part in the annual ‘Dragon’s Den’ style project, focussing on New Venture Creation and Business Planning with an inspiring group of students.
I was assigned to a group of six highly intelligent, motivated and fearless young people who wasted no time in putting together a solid plan of action, to ensure they really made the most of having a mentor on hand to work through their ideas with. They communicated well, they were always on time (early actually) for our meetings, and they always prepared in advance to make the very best of our time together. I was astounded by their levels of enthusiasm for the project, and despite having a very full schedule already, they took their remit very seriously. Their collaborative working methods were first class, and this really paid off in their final presentations, when they were awarded a very impressive 3rd place out of around 20 groups.
On a more personal level and as a parent of three young children, it was wonderful for me to have an insight into what life may hold in the coming years for my own children. It did however also made me mindful that my children would only have access to the same opportunities as my group of students, if people like me continue to prioritise CSR.
Like many working professionals, I’m super busy. I travel extensively for work, I attend countless meetings each week, and I manage a team of people and each year we welcome a vast amount of young people to the UK who will be taking part in Educational Programmes. Even with all of these factors considered, I will continue to make time to help in the education of young people when possible. Will you?