Case Studies

Progression into work

These are a few case studies from current projects we are funding. You can read about the impact our grants are having and learn more about the types of projects we support.

richard reeves oxfam 01

Islington Giving – Mentoring Works

Many of Islington’s young people are struggling to obtain suitable training and work options. Some have limited access to adequate careers advice. Others suffer from a lack of access to professional networks. And employability skills training varies in quality.

Mentoring can tackle this problem by connecting students to business volunteers, helping participants get an insight into the working world through the mentoring relationship.

The relationship helps young people:

  • explore training and work options
  • have a positive role model
  • widen horizons
  • build skills that employers value
  • understand the link between academic achievement and gaining employment
  • begin building corporate networks that can deliver opportunities

In 2014, the Foundation awarded Islington Giving funding over a period of 5 years to establish a mentoring scheme led by businesses in Islington.

As a result of the first year’s success, in early 2016 we approved additional funding to enable the scheme to be rolled out to the vast majority of schools and colleges in Islington.

BIG Alliance – Mentoring Works (Camden)

In 2016, the Foundation awarded BIG Alliance funding for a 3-year project to extend the successful ‘Mentoring Works’ programmer currently running in Islington, into schools and sixth-form colleges in Camden.

BIG Alliance Case Study

Mitsubishi UFJ Securities helps pupils develop self-confidence

Adriana Hardwick, Learning and development manager, at the securities arm of MUFG, is involved in the mentoring programme and is matched with a student from Holloway School. She talks about her experience of being involved:

"Having benefited from having and being a mentor in a work environment I understand how beneficial the relationships can be. I was keen to use my experiences in a different context and thought the schools mentoring programme would be perfect.

I must admit, I was a little apprehensive, especially as I hadn’t had much interaction with teenagers but wanted to step out of my comfort zone as I thought it would be really interesting. The training, which reminded us to make sure the sessions were fun, especially after a hard day at school, meant I felt well prepared.

I remember how difficult I found it to talk to adults when I was younger, so learning that my mentee wanted help building her confidence with this is really touching.

To get things started, I was able to use one of the icebreakers from the mentor pack to get us to share stories about our families, without it feeling like I was firing lots of questions at her. It quickly made me realise how important it was to build a meaningful rapport and treat her as an individual, not like a child.

This has helped make sure she feels comfortable talking to me, so we can have really honest and open conversations about what she wants to get out of the sessions. It’s been an unexpected bonus to learn that we both share a love of sci-fi and fantasy films!

My pupil has very high career aspirations, but is torn between two different career choices, in very different fields. I have been helping her to research them so she understands the qualifications required for both and understands the routes open to her. We have also worked on two different CVs to help her understand how to highlight different skills depending on the job being applied for.

Having had a broad career with a breadth of experience I have been able to reassure her that it is ok not to know exactly what it is you want to do. It’s about weighing up all the options and doing everything you can to give yourself the knowledge and confidence to make the decision when the time is right.

Whilst I was confident that I had the skills to help, I wasn’t prepared for the impact it would have on me. Perhaps most importantly it has really made me realise that, whatever age, we all face challenges and have to make important decisions that influence who we are, especially at school."

'The best part was getting advice on things we were worried about. For example, interviews, speaking to new people and finding a job.'

'My first language is not English - I've always felt at a disadvantage and was afraid to speak out loud. I'm more confident to do that now.'

Year 10 Students, Islington Giving

'They are absolutely brilliant girls who have come completely out of their shells. I have been working with them on presenting skills and increasing their confidence and there has been a real difference.'

Mentor, Islington Giving

'My mentor helped me with coursework and we worked on my CV and personal statement... As a result of mentoring it has helped me to expand my skills.'

6th Form Student, Islington Giving