Stewarts, one of the UK's leading law firms, have partnered with Future Frontiers over the last two years to provide careers coaching to disadvantaged young people. Signing up for the very first time during the pandemic, their first cohort completed the programme virtually. This year, they were able to run in-person sessions at their office in London.
We asked Laura Jenkins, a Partner at Stewarts, for her thoughts about their partnership with us.
Why is tackling social mobility and educational inequality important to you and your organisation?
Equality of opportunity for all is important to the firm and to me personally. In this country, people born into low income families, regardless of their talent or their hard work, do not have the same access to opportunities as those born into more privileged circumstances.
That is a problem for individuals, who are not given the opportunity to fulfil their potential, and for society as we do not then gain the benefit of that individual’s contribution. Education and career guidance is a fundamental building block for improving social mobility.
Why did you choose Future Frontiers as a partner to support disadvantaged young people?
Having looked at a number of programmes, Future Frontiers appeared to us to offer the most to the students involved and to our staff.
We wanted to pursue an active programme with measurable results. The programme is about giving the students the tools to find the right careers for them. Having participated in the programme for 2 years we are satisfied that it provides that, and more.
Equality in the workplace is important to Stewarts. Diverse teams can produce better results for our clients and better reflect and meet our client’s needs and expectations. The firm’s inclusion strategy helps us attract and retain a diverse and talented workforce.
Participation in programmes like Future Frontiers’ ensures that we, and others, can assist as much as we can in ensuring that the workforce of the future is as diverse as possible.
How was your experience of setting up the programme - including recruitment, logistics, and communication?
Everything involved in setting up the programme has been very straightforward.
The Future Frontiers team provided internal materials to use to recruit our staff to participate in the programme, they liaise directly with the volunteers to assist them in their preparations to be a coach and communicate clearly and effectively throughout.
There is also significant feedback provided on the experience of the students and their school staff which gives the whole programme a real sense of purpose (and achievement).
How was the support you received from Future Frontiers at each step of the journey?
Very good, even in circumstances where the constant flux in covid rules impacted the delivery of the programme.
In what way did the Future Frontiers programme benefit the business/your people?
We work in a busy profession and it is easy for us to get tied up in our day to day work.
It has been a useful process for us to take a step back and think about the skills and benefits that we have and how we can use our time and experience to assist others. Our staff have had the opportunity to recognise that things we may take for granted, such as contacts in a broad range of areas, are useful to others and can be shared.
From a more technical perspective, the ability to coach is a useful skill in the work place and the volunteers have had the opportunity to develop that skill through participation in the programme.
Choice quote from a volunteer:
“I was really humbled to take part in the Future Frontiers mentoring programme. It just brought back to me how very fortunate we are if we have the opportunity to thrive in education because we have supportive parents and access to learning and networking that is all too often taken for granted.”
What was the highlight of the programme for you / your teams?
Receiving the impact report and seeing the school and the pupils feedback on the impact that the programme has had on them and how much clearer they all are about their futures.
Choice quote from a volunteer:
“Seeing the difference in my pupil by the end of the programme was quite incredible. Initially they were quite shy and unsure of the direction they wanted to go in. Their confidence visibly grew throughout the coaching sessions, and by the final session they were able to confidently express what they wanted to do in terms of a future career, how they could achieve this, and the strengths and skills that they would bring to the role.”
Would you recommend the Future Frontiers programme to other businesses? If so, why?
Absolutely. This is not just about donating money, this is an opportunity for you and your business to make a real impact and to see that impact first hand through pupil engagement.
The Future Frontiers coaching programme can make a life-changing difference to young people and our business partners and coaches provide essential input and support. Get in touch to find out more.