Being busy has become the norm for so many of us, both in work and at home. Workloads increase, deadlines loom, and it’s easy to let the less “pressing” tasks or activities fall by the wayside. Like most people, we’re guilty of this from time to time, and need to plan accordingly to fit in the “non-urgent” stuff, around reports, projects and proposals.
Something we’re committed to at IFF is providing a positive work culture, where our team are engaged and are given opportunities to develop, both professionally and personally. This summer we found a great opportunity to help us achieve that, and which felt like a great fit, linking to our values of being human first and making a difference.
“At the end of the Future Frontiers project, all the young people were enthusiastic and excited about their future careers and it was great to be a part of that.”
Teaming up with charity Future Frontiers, who support disadvantaged young people, 20 IFF-ers from around the business took part in a career mentoring programme for a group of 15-year olds from Kemnal Technology College near Bromley. Running over 4 weeks, the programme offered our team the opportunity to listen to and work with young people during a pivotal time in their academic and future working careers.
Taking time away from our day jobs took a bit of juggling, but Future Frontiers provided loads of support to ensure we were supported throughout and felt comfortable in the programme.
IFF Associate Director Gill Stewart remarked “I felt prepared for every session, thanks to the resources available – the handbook, the coaching portal and the videos…. It was a lovely thing to be involved in.”
Reflecting on her participation in the programme, Mirella Scott, Qualitative Research Manager said: “I remember what it was like when I was that age, with all the choices laid out before you. When I was at school, making these decisions for myself, and the advice that helped me along the way. The opportunity to volunteer shows that IFF is interested in helping people with their career and having a positive influence in their lives.”
It does make you think about other important things in life and reflect on your own journey through school and starting out in your career. And thinking back – what advice would you give to your 15-year old self?
Other staff agreed that “making time” to break away from the routine of work was really valuable and found that working with young people was refreshing and energising. The success of the programme was in no small part related to the support that Future Frontiers provided: the use of electronic tablets, links to resources – and even the graduation party; with support from our People team.
Reflecting on the opportunity one volunteer said: “Everyone takes ownership and personal responsibility of their work at IFF, so being able to step away from the intensity of your work and take time to do something like this was brilliant. From the start through to graduation, seeing the student preparing to work toward a goal that you’ve influenced, and to work with a young person individually was very rewarding”.
Looking back, the programme was a great opportunity for personal and professional development, and something we’d highly recommend. A wholly positive experience for our team (and we hope for the young people too), it’s been great a great reminder of the value of making time to invest in our People. As well as reiterating how lucky we are to have a great team around us, and give us the opportunity to make a difference.