Our friends over at EY are all about community. Finance is their bag. So they literally help school leavers get in on the money by supporting them into a job at EY. On the EY School Leavers programme, young people learn practical business skills at EY headquarters. By the time they’re done, they’re experienced in the workplace and as qualified in business as some of their peers who spent that time getting a degree.
School leaver Shiva Varma works in the Business Immigration team at EY. He’s exposed to a variety of different clients, tasks and responsibilities. Shiva talks to vInspired about a typical day in the office as part of the EY School Leavers programme.
- 9:00am – 9:30am: Check my e-mails to prioritise the work I’m going to do today.
- 9:30 – 10:00am: Conference call with partners across Europe. We’re discussing a new business opportunity and reviewing the proposal I’ve written. This is possibly the most exciting and terrifying meeting I’ve been involved in. Some of the partners involved have held/do hold extremely senior positions globally within the firm.
- 10:00am – 11:00am: I take on board suggestions throughout the meeting and redraft my proposal with the partner from the UK portion of the team.
- 11:00am – 12:00pm: I’m working with the rest of the Business Immigration team on our various UK inbound clients, as well as internal clients at EY who may be travelling abroad. This could involve administrative tasks (like photocopying or creating client files) or searching through legal guidance to answer queries.
- 12:00pm – 1:00pm: Lunchtime! Great time to socialise with other team members and School Leavers. Sometimes you see some of the office celebrities in the canteen – I even spotted the global CEO eating his lunch once!
- 1:00pm – 2:00pm: Meeting with a client to discuss their needs and what EY can do for them. As usual, my priority is to provide exceptional client service. They need guidance on legal requirements – they’re trying to obtain full British Citizenship. We also help them fill out application forms and complete legal documents required to prove they’re eligible to become a citizen.
- 2:00pm – 4:00pm: I have to finish off my tasks for the day. This can be simple stuff like photocopying documents, filling out application forms and setting up meetings. Harder stuff includes running a shared mailbox and tracker. This helps coordinate a global project for one of our biggest clients.
- 4:00pm – 5:00pm: Revising for my professional exams. EY is fantastic for this. They not only pay for our training and exams but they even allow us to study during the work day. Everyone here has done some form of professional exam. They understand how demanding working a full work week and revising can be. I certainly appreciate how much the team care and how understanding they are.
- 5:00pm – 9:00pm: Met with some colleagues from the School Leaver Programme. It’s always good to catch up with everyone and find out how they’re getting on. Sometimes you can share good advice with them and sometimes they even have some good advice for you.
No two days are the same at EY. Sometimes you can spend all day in the office on different projects. Other days you could be meeting clients or even meeting prospective School Leavers at their assessment centres. Will I see you there?
vInspired’s Cashpoint superstar, Prince Ahmed, became our Youth Social Action Ambassador for a day. His duty was to attend a lunch date with HRH Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace. Cucumber sandwiches anyone?
Prince represented us at the launch of the Step Up To Serve campaign. He joins Prince Charles, David Cameron and some of Britain’s most important people. We’re all working to show what young volunteers do for the good of the country.
Prince Ahmed took a break from Buck House tea to tell us how he became a social action champ.
What motivated you to set up your own social action project?
As a volunteer at Tower Hamlets Council I became heavily involved with a mix of young people from my borough. Many young people were falling through the net, simply because they didn’t have a support system. To tackle this problem I decided a grass roots intervention project was needed.
How did you go about starting it?
I used my experience as a volunteer to organise my own small community projects. One of these was a football training scheme funded by vInspired’s Cashpoint programme. I was rewarded a £500 Cashpoint grant to start Prince’s Football Scheme. It’s a project that connects local young people with coaches from West Ham United FC. I used the project as an outreach system to connect with young people before they fell through the net. I also got a v100 award for my volunteering hours.
What do you think the barriers are for young people wanting to become more socially active?
Poverty is a classic barrier that prevents many young people engaging in social action. It’s hard to get involved in community projects when dealing with financial pressures. Plus recent cuts in funding led to many community groups closing down, reducing the local volunteering opportunities for young people.
How would you get more young people involved in social action?
I would start more local community groups to improve community cohesion. Supporting the creation of stronger community ties would encourage young people to get involved more, as they would feel like valued members of their communities.
At a national level I think more emphasis needs to be placed on social action. Campaigns like Step up to Serve are needed regularly to encourage young people to get involved in their communities.
Favourite inspirational quotes?
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” - Maria Robinson
Have you made your pledge to Step Up To Serve?
That’s 2 billion garments wasted each year in the UK. vInspired are blinging up old clothes instead of spending money on new outfits. And all whilst saving fashion from landfill.
Get an eco-friendly new look on a budget by joining us on 24 November for Car Boot Disco. We’ll be transforming your unwanted clothes with a swap shop and customisers to help you bling your things. Or just gather some mates, raid your wardrobe and get customising at home with our top tips.
Make sure you post some snaps on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #GetTrashed.
Tip 1 – Tailor your trainers
Everyone has an old pair of trainers that they don’t think should see the light of day again. But are you sure you want to bin them? Grab yourself some fabric pens and make your trainers tell a story. Doodle your favourite characters and watch your shoes come back to life.
Get really creative by paint-spatting, sketching or simply re-lacing with ribbon. The options are endless.
Tip 2 – It’s not dud if you stud
Studding is a cheap and easy way to customise your clothes. Stud up your shirt collar, jeans, shorts or converse. In fact, stud anything you can get your hands on.
Tip 3 – Bling them, don’t bin them
We love things that sparkle. That’s why we’re working with Spanglewear to bling up your wardrobe at Car Boot Disco. Add a few sequins to jumpers or glitter to shoes to spangle your things. Sew them. Stick them. Spangle them.
Tip 4 – Repair it and wear it it
Ripped a hole in your favourite t shirt or jeans? Don’t throw away what could easily be fixed. Sew those buttons back on. Fix that zip. It’ll feel good as new.
Get involved and see how easy it is to save 10,000 items from landfill.
Party conferences are one of the biggest events in the political calendar. Our volunteers joined MPs to front our “Pop-up for a cause” events, showcasing the great things you’re doing across the country.
Wondering what volunteering at the conferences can teach you about British Politics? Our volunteers picked up four top tips.
1. Party conferences are a bit like freshers fairs
The entrance of a party conference looks like a university fresher fair. You’ll find exhibition stands from loads of organisations, hoping to catch the attention of passers-by. It’s worth noting that a cheeky freebie works wonders to attract interest in your cause. Pass the sweetie bowl…
2. Politics is for everyone
Think only middle aged men from Eton get involved in politics? Wrong.
British politics is made up of people from all corners of society. Our volunteers learnt that what they see on TV – a House Of Commons full of men – isn’t all there is to politics. There are more young people, women and ethnic minority groups actively engaged in British politics than meets the eye.
3. Politics isn’t just about Westminster
Party conferences give charities and businesses the opportunity to speak up on how to run the country. We come together to lobby for support on issues we care about. We work hard to get MPs listening to us, and become of interest to them and their political plans.
Organisations hold fringe events to discuss policy issues like youth unemployment, volunteering and even beer!
4. Politicians are normal people
Politicians may seem intimidating on TV. Don’t be scared – they love a good old chin wag!
The party conferences let our volunteers see how normal and impressionable politicians are. They wanted to speak to our volunteers about the struggles of young people. A couple even skipped the canapés to grab a bite to eat from McDonald’s…
Whatever they say, mum and dad don’t always know best. The jobseeker’s world is now social media and technology led. Meaning you guys could be better at getting employed.
Our Dare to Compare quiz pits young people against their parents. See who survives the 2013 world of work whilst getting interview ready. Play now for the chance to win £1000 development grant or a laptop.
Fancy some quiz cheats? Here’s some advice to help you become more employable.
Volunteering experience stands out
“The last few years have brought more and more young job-seekers to our door, especially for roles in Retail and Telesales. Finding quality candidates is really important. CVs that highlight relevant volunteering experience are an excellent way to stand out from the crowd.”
Jemimah Parnell, HR Director, Three
Volunteering = transferable skills
Loads of young people have landed jobs by volunteering with vInspired. The opportunities you sign up for give your CV a kickstart. It could change your whole future…
“Volunteering has made a huge impact on my career. It got me the job I have now as it displayed lots of transferable skills I wouldn’t have otherwise had. Without it I honestly believe I would still be looking for jobs after uni.”
Emma, 24, London
Beware of Facebook
Let’s think about taking down those beer bong pictures, shall we?
Apply the rule “if you wouldn’t shout it in a crowded room, don’t post it” to your Facebook and Twitter posts. Avoid your updates coming back to haunt you.
Stalk your employer
Interviewers aren’t the only ones who can check up on people. If you’ve done your research, you’ll have scoured the company’s online channels. Look out for:
- The company goals
- Every service they offer – online and offline
- Their social channels and how they talk to their audience
- What they could do better/ideas you think they could try
Pointing out something they could change or improve on in an interview shows you really did your research. As long as you’re not arrogant about it, they’ll be impressed.
Polish up your LinkedIn profile
There are now over 238 million registered LinkedIn users, with 13 million in the UK alone. One in five employers hire someone based on their LinkedIn profile. A profile is now an essential tool to getting that dream job.
Be creative with your CV
Especially in creative sectors, a Word document CV on it’s own just doesn’t cut it any more.
Play to your skills and have another CV at the ready. A creative version.
You could use YouTube, Pinterest, photo montages, Facebook pages… the list is endless. This guy even made a QR code CV for himself.
Facing a room full of people you don’t know can be nerve-wracking. What’s the best way to approach someone? What do you say when you get there? What should you do with your face?!
Put down the smelling salts and stop that nervous twitch. There’s no need to be worried about meeting new people when team v are holding your hand.
“Smile (like you mean it)”
Lucy Dean, Team v Midlands
‘I really like chatting with someone who has a face like a slapped arse’ said no one ever.
Swallow your nerves and approach new people with a smile. You’ll fall into conversations easily if you look like a happy person.
“Ask them about their hometown”
Danielle Falcus, Team v North London
Follow up your first “Hello, my name is…” by asking where they’ve travelled in from. Everyone knows the answer to this question. You can’t go wrong.
Danielle says, “I find it starts conversations with something I know how to talk about confidently. For example, everyone will complain about living in London or about train commutes, then once the rapport is built you can ask a question like ‘What do you do there’?”
“Find out what makes them tick”
Alex Quang, Team v South London
When you’ve found out what your new acquaintance loves, take the opportunity to learn more about it. Perhaps it’s an interest you share – in which case, rave about it with them. New friend = made.
“Find out what motivates them to do what they do. Ask all about it. Your interest leaves you with a better understanding of them. That helps build a stronger relationship.”
“Let them get a word in edgeways”
John Morris, Team v Midlands
We all love to talk about ourselves. It’s great for filling awkward silences. But do make sure you’re not hogging the spotlight the whole time. If ten minutes goes by and you haven’t learnt their name, where they’re from or what they do, it’s time to share the stage.
“Make sure you actually talk to the person rather than over-selling yourself or commanding the conversation. Having a general chat (though by all means talk about the reason you’ve come together to network) with someone will often help build that relationship quicker. A one way conversation can feel like a sales pitch.”
“Keep in touch”
Glenn Gridley, Team v North London
What’s the point in meeting all these interesting people if you forget about them as soon as you leave your event?
“Once you’ve got something you want out of someone, keep them up to date with how you’re doing and stay in touch. Then they know you value them.”
Unless you’ve made arrangements to meet up or are really firm friends, asking for phone numbers might be a bit forward. If that doesn’t feel appropriate, see if they’re heading to any other events that you may go to. You could even ask for their Twitter handle or blog address if they have one. If all else fails, ask how you can keep up to date with their work or projects, and see what they offer you.
Ready to get stuck in? Volunteer with your local Team v leader.
Watch carefully as these 4Music stars volunteer their way around London to win exclusive vInspired prizes. Your bundle will include t-shirts, wristbands, tote bags and – if you’re really good – a pen or two. Just check out each clip, answer our quiz questions and pop your answers in the comment box below!
Closing date is 13 September.
Ollie and Cheska get recycling
Bet you didn’t think you’d see THESE Made In Chelsea stars outside the Royal Borough, let alone litter-picking at Latitude.
Summer is the ultimate time to get your festival on. But after a weekend of live music and crazy antics, someone has to clean up. Otherwise it’s no more festivals for you lot.
Ollie and Cheska ditched the Gucci to drop into Latitude festival and get their hands dirty. To their surprise, they had a whole bunch of fun with their mates while learning to recycle properly. Who knew?
Answer to win #1: What’s the worst thing Ned and Fred have recycled at a festival?
A*M*E DJs on hospital radio
We don’t need to tell you why volunteering to help the sick is a worthy cause. That includes keeping them entertained!
We had pocket rocket A*M*E scouting the wards for song requests from patients. Like a modern day Florence Nightingale, but better dressed.
Music holds strong emotional connections for lots of people. Having your favourite song played on the radio when you’re feeling poorly is one little thing that can make a big difference, and in hospital that’s down to our volunteers.
Answer to win #2: Which hospital is A*M*E volunteering at?
The Loveable Rogues care for kittens
Hands up if you love a cat picture!
Get ready to have your heart melted. We sent the Loveable Rogues off to volunteer at Battersea Cats and Dogs Home. Funny how they seem extra loveable with kittens in their hand.
The boys did their bit for the charity by caring for critters at the animal shelter. They spoke to volunteers, and learnt the plight the animals cared for at Battersea.
Answer to win #3: What planet was the Lovable Rogues favourite cat named after?
Will Best takes part in Street Games
Cheeky chappie Will Best couldn’t wait to get stuck in again since volunteering with us on Taking Care Of Christmas last year. This time we sent him off to channel Olympic spirit at Street Games Festival.
Will helped participants out-race twelve year old girls, refereed matches and learnt to gain respect from sports fans. All whilst helping young people get fit, and relive the inspiring time that the 2012 Games brought to the country last year. Oh, and face-planted the tarmac once or twice.
Answer to win #4: Name four sports played at Street Games festival.
It’s been one year, 60 volunteers, 7,000 volunteer hours and four pop-up shops since our Retail Ready People programme first opened its doors.
Retail Ready People, and our partnership with Retail Trust, has now come to an end (sad face). The last shops in Leeds and Rochdale are now closed, but our volunteers blazed a retail trail that communities will remember.
So how exactly do you shake up bargain hunting enough to make it stick in a customer’s mind? That was the challenge conquered by our Retail Ready volunteers.
A crafty takeaway
In 2012, the Retail Ready People of Brighton created Make Away. In this store, t-shirts, bags, aprons, tea towels and cards were screen-printed before your very eyes. The goodies were even sold in pizza boxes – the very definition of a guilt-free takeaway.
The shop was unique because it encouraged customers to print their own product, not to mention craft their own wares during in-store workshops. They used prints by local designers and sold artwork and jewellery made locally.
A community Christmas
Enfield volunteers chose to focus on keeping customers warm and ready for Christmas. They sold clothes, gifts and accessories made in Enfield, supporting local traders and designers.
The volunteers brought fresh energy to Enfield, which was affected by the 2011 summer riots. Cosy Cove is a great example of how young people can bring their communities together and tackle negative stereotypes through volunteering. Plus they kept everything cushy and comfy throughout the festive season. Let’s raise an Eggnog to them this year.
Colour me creative
The Rochdale team pulled off a highly interactive way to bring community spirit back to the town. The shop sold posters, t-shirts and tote bags designed by local artists with a very successful ‘Made in Rochdale’ theme. Locals flocked to the store to co-design their very own Rochdale merchandise, actively supporting the talent flourishing on their doorstep.
Our volunteers offered workshops and tutorials on graffiti lettering, peg animals, t-shirt design and more to help every customer be as creative as possible.
Meanwhile in Leeds, the team went above and beyond the call for customer service. Embracing chill-out vibes to the max, visitors could unwind in the shop’s social space.
The ‘in-shop living room’ came complete with comfy seating, games, books and live entertainment from some of Leeds’ best local talent. All over a strong cuppa, of course.
Inspired by what you see? Check out retail volunteer roles near you.
Planning to go off to university or college is a great thing. We’re proud of everyone who’s aced their exam results and are embarking on the well-planned path of Higher Education. Getting a degree is a life-changing experience, but it’s absolutely not for everyone. If you’re looking for something different, it seems like there isn’t enough careers guidance in schools or colleges. As there are tons of options other than going to university (and indeed, university itself can throw some unexpected curve balls your way), we think it’s important to give school leavers the real options.
Whether you’re waiting on GCSEs, A Levels, flunking out or looking to step onto the career ladder, our alternative careers advisor doesn’t shy away from the facts. Whatever happens this results day, vInspired always has options for you.
Don’t go to university at all
Although the numbers look big, student debt is actually quite straightforward to pay off when you graduate and start earning substantial wages. That said, it’s only worth paying back that debt if going to university and getting a degree is what you really want to do. Otherwise, you could spend that time getting hands-on experience in the working world.
Temping agencies are a good place to start when you’re looking for work, but sometimes their choices are limited. vInspired volunteer Kimberley Mambongo looked to Task Squad for temp work that helped her develop skills she’d need for the future. Now, she has worked in event logistics for vInspired Live and promoted a book launch
“It’s really hard to find a job because the things I’m qualified are hard to get. All the jobs are taken. All I am offered by the temp agencies is things like waitressing, which are things that I don’t really want to do.
Doing Task Squad has been really great because it’s given me the chance to get skills and experience in fields that are much more relevant to what I want to do.”
Volunteer your way into a career
Still finding your feet when it comes to career choices? It’s ok to have no idea what you want to do when you leave school. In fact, I bet you’ll find yourself having the most fun exploring the endless possibilities!
The only way to find out which career is to grab an opportunity and give it a try. Volunteering is perfect for this – you get to learn skills, choose what job avenues you want to pursue and help others. There are plenty of volunteering interests to choose from, including:
There are loads. If you can’t find something you’re interested in, we’ll eat our exam results.
Start your own business
You are part of the Beta Generation which means, now more than ever, that a degree isn’t the be-all and end-all of a successful working life. The dream of many young people is now to work for themselves.
You don’t gain entrepreneurial skills by magic. This is where we step in.
Take your business idea to our Cashpoint team. If your pitch will benefit a community, you could be awarded £500 to kickstart your project idea. Once it’s off the ground, there’s nothing stopping you turning your working project into a business of your own.
Wrong course? Not what you thought? Run out of cash? Dropping out of uni doesn’t have to be the end of the world. As long as you’re ready to dust yourself down and try again, you’ll be on track in no time.
Whatever results day brings, never forget that going your own way is always an option, and vInspired are here to help you on your way. Check out our Cashpoint scheme.
After a brief wet spell, it seems the sun’s come back to coax us out of our shelters and get us out in the fresh air. Problem is, a lot of things out there in the outside world require money (shock, horror) even sitting on a deck chair in the park costs a few quid these days! But if you’re anything like us, the old ‘lie on a towel/maybe kick a ball around’ routine is getting a bit repetitive, so here are our top five tips for free fun in the sun!
For music lovers
We may already be in August, but there’s still plenty to look forward to on the festival circuit and loads of ways for you to get involved for free. Get over to the Isle of Wight at the end of the month to help out with some stewarding and Bestival will let you stay for free. A pretty decent trade off if a few hours litter-picking and pointing lost revellers to the right stage gets you in to see David Guetta, Fatboy Slim and Franz Ferdinand! If that’s not your scene, there are loads of other festivals doing the same deal. Come and check them out on our site.
For animal lovers
As dog owners will know, one of the most difficult parts of taking care of man’s best friend is the sheer amount of running around they like to do. This can get a bit tiresome during normal British weather let alone The Great Heatwave of 2013. So why not help out an exhausted dog owner by taking their pal out for a run around? Pro tip: you don’t actually need to run, too. That’s what tennis balls are for.
If you like your animals bigger/hairier/scalier (delete as appropriate) then maybe you’d be the perfect person to help out at a zoo. Dartmoor are looking for knowledgeable folk to pass on some of that passion they have for animals to the visitors flooding in over the holidays. If that’s a bit far away have a look on the site for some near you!
For creative types
Painting at home or spinning records in your room isn’t the only way to do your thing this summer, there are masses of outdoor sessions going on around the country for you to get involved in. The Make a Difference crew in Milton Keynes are looking for DJs, acoustic giggers and graffiti artists to run their youth programmes. Check out what we have to offer nearer you.
For sports fans
If you’re the type who can go out there and run around without collapsing in a sweaty heap then we’ve got a whole host of things for you. West London Youth Football Club are looking for talented coaches to get their 6-16 year old teams into shape for the new season. Can you be the new Fergie for them?