Andrea, one of our London Mentors, details his experience of attending his first Career Taster Day at LinkLaters

As part of our recognition of National Apprenticeship Week, Andrea, one of our Lead Mentors in London, detailed his experience attending his first Career Taster Day with young people from Footsteps Trust for a work experience day at LinkLaters.

"The Footsteps boys are an interesting group of young men to work with. It takes time to gain their trust and they can be challenging to coach at times, but when we deliver our weekly sessions on the field next to the school, we are always able to create an energetic and positive environment.

"So, when we organised a Career Taster Day (CTD) with our group from Footsteps, I was excited to see how they would react. It was also my first experience of observing a CTD and I was curious to observe the young people in a different environment from the playing field.

"Arriving at LinkLaters, we were warmly welcomed by volunteers from the multinational law-firm. Hannah Lashley, the Community Education Consultant for Linklaters, then joined us to lead the CTD. Hannah began with a simple but effective icebreaker for our young people to answer: ‘What’s your dream job?’.

'I want to be a pilot…a businessman…I don’t know what I want to be'.

"The final answer sat with me. I always thought that not knowing what to do after school is fairly normal at this age, but it reinforced why we constantly organise Career Taster Days for the young people we work with.

"One of our goals is to show them how a job environment works: show up on time, respect the people you work with, dress properly and manage the time you spend on your phone. It’s a picture that, understandably, they can’t quite see yet, considering that most of their lives are spent in school or at home. Spending time with the Linklaters’ volunteers during the day pushed the boys out of their daily comfort zone.

"Something that the young people took from the day was learning about what skills are required to be employable and how the various departments required different expertise and knowledge.

"'Can I work here even if I’m not a lawyer?', asked Lee from Footsteps, and the conversation quickly started to develop and engage every person in the room. Our young people slowly figured out that a number of careers pathways are available to them across a broad range of companies, not just a global law firm.

"As the CTD came towards its end, Footsteps teacher Jaimie and I were given one more surprise from the students in attendance.

“'I think we need to give a round of applause to Hannah for organising all of this for us”, Youness said to his classmates at the end of the day. Everyone agreed and started to clap their hands. It was a proud moment as we saw the group show maturity in acknowledging the time and effort that had gone into developing an engaging session.

"I took a great deal from my first Career Taster Day session observed; and the best bit was that our young people took so much more from it than we all expected. It means that our relationship will continue to grow and expand between LinkLaters and our group from Footsteps. Together with volunteers from the law firm, we’ll deliver a CV workshop for the young people at the school later in the year.

"Our intention is to support the young people to build their own CV and get ready for their next step in life. This is what RugbyWorks is all about."