27th August 2020
Civica supports young people during pandemic
Through our Young Enterprise partnership, colleagues give their time to virtual events
The pandemic hasn’t discouraged Civica colleagues from volunteering and supporting future leaders. Through Civica’s partnership with Young Enterprise, a number of leaders at Civica continue to give their time to supporting young people’s futures. Read Emily, Kate, Kirsty and Richard’s stories here.
Emily, Managing Director of Regulatory Services at Civica, first got involved with Young Enterprise in 2019 when she judged and presented an award at the South West Final. She supported the same event this year virtually.
“Since working with Young Enterprise, I’ve learned that we shouldn’t let past experiences get in the way of our vision. The young people who take time outside of their studies to pursue a business idea they’re deeply passionate about have real grit, especially to then be judged by business leaders. You can see how important it is to do something you love when you see young people enthuse with such confidence about their ideas and visions. If you believe in something, you can make it happen!
On why it’s important for role models to be visible to young people, Emily had this to say.
“I think young people could have more visible role models in business, considering they’ll spend most of their lives at work. I definitely wasn’t exposed to a huge variety of different role models, so I look back now and feel I was almost unprepared for the world of work. I think some miss having someone to show them how to navigate a career! Young Enterprise help prepare young people for the bit they won’t get taught in school, and the ups and downs of a real business.”
Kate, Digital Specialist at Civica, has three teenage children, two of whom have special educational needs (SEN). Her motivation for supporting Young Enterprise was to help young people with SEN who are thinking about their future.
“With Young Enterprise, I got to work with a small group of teenagers with SEN. We discussed the jobs they might enjoy, and what the first steps might be on the journey there. They also demonstrated their business skills by making jewellery that they then had to pitch for sale which was great fun!
“Volunteering with Young Enterprise is a fantastic opportunity to give something back and encourage young people as they begin imagining and planning their futures.”
On why it’s important for role models to be visible to young people, Kate had this to say.
“The saying ‘You can’t be what you can’t see’ is so true. Research consistently indicates that young people who are disadvantaged in any way are at more risk of not achieving their full potential compared with their peers. Sadly, this generally means that people with additional needs, or from poorer backgrounds, do less well academically, economically and in terms of health outcomes than their peers. Society overall benefits from diversity in the workplace – after all, nothing would change if everyone was the same. So addressing these inequalities helps employers as much as it helps young people themselves.
“On a personal level, having two children with additional needs has made me even more passionate about addressing inequality. It’s simply wrong that your start in life, or not being ‘neurotypical’, can negatively impact later outcomes.
We all have a role to play in ‘narrowing the gap’. Anything we can do to increase opportunities, raise aspirations and support young people to achieve their full potential is a good thing. If young people can see ‘people like them’ doing different jobs and talking to people already doing them, it helps them to see what they might do in the future and to understand the steps that they can take to get there. It’s great to be part of an organisation like Civica that supports employees to make small differences like this. It all adds up!”
Kirsty is Civica’s HR & Payroll Managing Director and judged a Young Enterprise competition for the first time this year.
“When I was in high school, I started a Young Enterprise team for which I was MD. It was called KRISLM and we made jewellery. We travelled all over the UK to craft fairs and even won the National Finals, but unfortunately couldn’t go any further due to our Science exams clashing with the following event’s dates! However, it was a great two years, so I was super keen to be ‘on the other side’ of the process as a judge when I discovered that Civica works with Young Enterprise.
“I virtually judged one of the London finals. Altogether there were four judges and a Young Enterprise representative who guided us through. We were sent documents, videos of the teams’ presentations and scoring criteria well in advance, so I had plenty of time to get to know the finalists.
“Going back to Young Enterprise and seeing the process through a judge’s eyes has reminded me just how much I learned about the world of work at that age. I was studying for my GCSEs when I completed the process, so it really helped to mould the knowledge and attitude I still carry today – that you have to work hard to achieve, no matter what.
“I think it’s so important for everyone to have a role model who can positively influence how they behave. It motivates us to be better and learn more. This is even more prevalent in young people when they’re experiencing new things every day and finding their way in the world of work.
“It’s also essential for young people to see all aspects of those they consider to be role models. Having visible role models means that young people see that it’s ok to make mistakes if you learn from them and understand the challenges they may encounter as they progress in their careers.”
Richard, Product Lead for CRaSH, offered to support Young Enterprise before the lockdown when he was expecting a face-to-face event.
“It was great to see how well Young Enterprise adapted to a fully remote process. Unfortunately, this meant not meeting the young people themselves, but we did get to learn about their businesses and journeys.
“I enjoyed taking part and was really impressed by what each team had achieved. It was personally rewarding to be a small part of the process that supports and recognises their work. We need to support our young people and provide them with the structure and direction which help them build the skills and experience to elevate their careers and what our future society will look like.”