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Inspirational Interactions for students

During the 2020/21 academic year the LoveLocalJobs Foundation have been proud to enable a series of inspirational programmes for students across Sussex despite the many challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. The programmes help to enhance the qualities needed for young people to be more successful in their personal and professional futures, consisting of six interactions with a mixture of online events, inspirational speakers and virtual mentoring.

One programme from the series concluded in May via the final round of mentoring sessions which enabled 90 students to once again benefit from the support of 42 business volunteers from Sussex Police, Legal & General, First Central, Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust and PwC. Operating as mentors and positive role models the business volunteers helped the students to put the programme content and values into context by sharing their experiences and stories regarding their life and career journeys. This concluded the six interaction programme for the students, which began virtually in March during lock-down.

The programme is one of many across Sussex, delivered by the LoveLocalJobs Foundation, which is part of a wider network of initiatives that have helped to provide a much needed boost of confidence and support for over 1,500 students during the pandemic.

Danielle Quinlan, Manager at PwC said; “I am incredibly proud that our PwC Gatwick office has continued to sponsor the Be the Change programme this year. As a major employer, we believe we can play a positive role in increasing social mobility through our community activities. With PwC’s latest social mobility research finding that 77% of individuals believe businesses should work with schools and education providers to raise awareness of career opportunities, the Be the Change programme is a perfect example of this collaboration working successfully.

As a mentor on the programme, it has been brilliant to interact with my mentees through our virtual 1:1s, helping them understand the skills they possess and how they can use them as they look ahead to their futures in the working world. It has also been really eye opening hearing their perspectives on the last 12 months, the individual challenges they have faced and how they’ve overcome them - I’ve been genuinely inspired by some of their stories and the tenacity they have shown.”

Dawn Matthews, Organisation Development & Inclusion Practitioner from the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust said; “It has been a privilege to take part in the programme which is expertly tailored and poses some of life’s Big Questions. The clever itinerary includes some composed and compelling answers resulting in meaningful conversations and smiles along the way. By understanding student’s needs and interests, the programme encourages self-belief, empathy and compassion. From a personal perspective, being a business mentor has been poignant and liberating at the same time. Taking part in the programme has transformed the 9-5 into something far more meaningful – I wish I’d had similar coaching at the same age!"

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