The young people gathered at a special awards ceremony, hosted at Manchester City FC’s Etihad Stadium on Friday 3 March (just ahead of National Careers Week), where they had the opportunity meet up with their training mentors and programme representatives, to look round the stadium, enjoy lunch and to receive their programme certificates.
CareerSense Find Your Path is part of NatWest’s employability programme and helps young people aged 16-24 not currently in education, employment or training (NEET) discover their potential. The programme is delivered with regional partners and offers peer-to-peer mentoring, skills workshops and paid work experience placements with NatWest – to equip young people with the support and skills they need to thrive.
Created by The Natwest Group, and supported by We Are Futures, the programme has been piloted in four UK cities during its first year – London, Manchester, Glasgow and Bristol – with Career Connect selected to deliver the programme in Manchester and Salford since March 2022.
Julia Davidson, Trainee Careers Adviser at Career Connect said: “I work with the Leaving Care team. I thought Find Your Path would be a great way to teach the young people I work with about the importance of employability skills. Not only that, but they also get four-weeks of valuable work experience with NatWest, so they can see exactly how their newly learned employability skills fit into real life.
“Six young people completed the course and they’ve got great things out of it – like improved motivation and self-confidence. They’re all really pleased because they’ve never had experience of work before. This programme has really raised their aspirations and made them think about their futures.”
Explaining how Find Your Path works, Julia says: “We started with employability sessions to help young people learn about themselves – what they expect from the programme, what skills and capabilities they have, what they need to work on to become more employable. We also look at how to apply for work, why job descriptions are important, what professional attributes you may need for different types of roles, how to write a CV, interview techniques and much more.
“We also held a “Meet the Mentors” session, where the young people select a mentor who supports them throughout the programme and for two months after it has finished.
“After the employability sessions, the young people go on a tfour-week work placement with a host manager at NatWest, where a wide range of experiences are available, including roles with in finance, business banking, HR, fraud reduction and marketing, depending on what the young person is interested in.
“At the end of their work placement, I and the other mentors at Career Connect work with the young people to create action plans. These explain their next steps – what skills they might need to follow particular careers or apply for certain job roles. Some may decide return to education. Some will explore other roles, and some may decide to start their own business or work for themselves.”
Kai, 19, from Manchester, was one of the young people completing the course.
Kai said: “I’ve done other training programmes, but I knew I needed to work on things like my routine and my communication skills. I’m more of a hands-on person, so my previous work was clearing out places and ground maintenance, which is a lot different from office-type work.
“Working in a bank was something I never thought I’d do. I expected it just to be hands-on work, with someone saying, ‘do this, do that,’ and if you don’t you’ve failed. But the work environment was really friendly and welcoming and there were a lot more aspects to it than I thought – like working the different sectors, like human resources and the fraud team.
“I didn’t think I’d like office jobs, but since I’ve been working here I’ve found that I do like it. It’s given me an open mind of what I’d like to do. I might even look at running my own business – something that would benefit people and where there’s a gap in the market.
“If I had to give any advice to someone considering doing this course, I’d say” “Go for it – definitely! Find your potential.” It’s helping me learn and explore more about myself.”
Maxine Prinsloo is the Account Executive for We Are Futures – a Brand and Social Impact Agency that works with NatWest to deliver the programme and supported Career Connect to deliver the Find Your Futures pilot in Greater Manchester.
Maxine said: “About 18 months ago, we were sourcing partners for the new programme NatWest had created, Find Your Path. We researched the best training providers and charities to deliver the skill sessions during the programme’s pilot year.
We came across Career Connect and we thought they were a great fit, so we commissioned them n March last year to work with 10 young people from Salford and Manchester. . One participant now works at the Ministry of Defence and the programme ignited his passion for law. , He is now studying for a law degree in Manchester, which is really amazing.
“Seven of the original group of young people are still here today, celebrating their success, having completed their eight-week skills sessions and four-weeks work placements. We’ve seen a massive increase in their confidence and skills and abilities. They feel more enthusiastic about their futures and have started to believe in themselves and what they can do in a professional capacity.
“All of them started off as NEET young people. They now see a much brighter future for themselves and they got to learn about the different roles that accompany a workplace – whether that’s working in marketing, banking, finance.”
“As much as the Find Your Path programme is led and facilitated by NatWest, the purpose is not to get young people into banking. It’s to expose young people to the world of work and guide them, ensuring they understand the many different roles that are available and to encourage them that their personal skills and passions can come through in their career as well.”
If you would like to find out more about the programme and similar opportunities in the future please contact Career Connect Manchester by emailing [email protected], calling us on 0161 232 7863 or connect with us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.