On Thursday, 26th September we held our sixth annual Social Mobility Careers Fair at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster. For the third year running, the Fair was jointly supported by CMC Markets and the Peter Cruddas Foundation.
The event provided a unique opportunity for young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds to engage with a range of employers with live vacancies and a huge variety of career opportunities on offer, from apprenticeships and internships to graduate schemes and executive roles.
The employers exhibiting at the event were:
As well as the main exhibiting room, the Fair also provided mock interview and CV review areas where attendees could get professional advice from experienced volunteers on how to stand out at all stages of the application process.
This year, we had over 200 young people between the ages of 16-30 attend. As with all Making The Leap initiatives, we focused on quality interactions and tangible outcomes. Our aim is for every person who attended to get a career opportunity from the Fair, while each employer that exhibited will have access to talented young people that may not ordinarily come within their radar.
Indeed this was something that Dave Worsfold, Operations Director at CMC Markets, valued about this Careers Fair: “We’re here today to show our support but also to showcase our company opportunities for young people looking to join CMC Markets and get their foot in the door of financial services. We’re looking for new people to come in that will reflect society as a whole. This is actually an easy way for us to tap talent in one place and one morning.”
This was backed up by Holly Allen, Graduate Recruitment Manager at Reed Smith LLP, who commented on the benefits of “having valuable conversations with young people who may not ordinarily believe that they can apply or are welcome to apply to a Firm such as ours.”
One attendee who could speak from both sides of the fence, as a Client Services Executive at CMC Markets but also a Making The Leap Fellow, was Emmanuel (read his Success Story here). Upon graduating from university, Emmanuel completed the Making The Leap Workshop and attended the 2018 Careers Fair: “It’s good exposure for a young person. I was here a year ago – it puts you out there and you get to meet people who might become your colleagues. You have to make the most of every opportunity that’s given to you.”
Another attendee determined to make the most of all the opportunities available was Chandni, who heard about the Careers Fair via her local Job Centre Plus: “I met a Making The Leap ambassador who invited me. It’s very busy, there are lots of opportunities available and lots of friendly people to talk to about the careers on offer.”
With an ambition to go into policy-making, Chandni believes this is the beginning of her realising her ambitions: “HM Treasury and the Civil Service Fast Stream stood out to me. They both offer a graduate programme for policy-focused careers, which I personally am interested in. I have applied to lots of places but been hitting a wall when I get to the interview stage. I think the Making The Leap Workshop will help me in that regard.”
Another young person engaging with Making The Leap for the first time was Tiffany, who had been struggling with CV structure and relevant work experience since moving to the UK from South Africa. At the Careers Fair, Tiffany found “being able to speak to someone and having an interview prior to actually going into the representatives of different businesses was very helpful.”
Beyond getting some great CV advice, she also learned a lot about the different opportunities available at different companies: “You don’t have to join a Law Firm just to practice law – you can offer your services as a social media marketer – there are always different roles you can find in a company.”
Sherya, a Making The Leap Fellow, was keen to reiterate this point: “You might look at a finance company but if you talk to them you find out they have roles in IT or other sectors, so make sure you talk to everyone.” While Tiffany and Chandni are looking forward to joining the Workshop, graduate Sherya had some retrospective feedback:
“I could have spent those three weeks doing nothing. Instead, I’ve become more confident and gained knowledge on corporate environments that I didn’t have before. Just in general, meeting new people and getting into the habit of working really helped me.”
The Making The Leap Social Mobility Careers Fair is an annual event but our soft skills and employability training Workshop runs monthly. To find out more about how we can improve your confidence, raise your aspirations and help you achieve your career goals, contact us using the details below.
Check out all the pictures from the Fair here.
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