Students on Westminster Kingsway College’s Career Ready Programme were treated to an online masterclass on 23 April with renowned global design and consultancy firm Arcadis.
The Career Ready Programme is a prestigious year-long employability programme for disadvantaged 16-18 year olds, which prepares them for the world of work and their future success. Together with a network of employers, the programme consists of three main parts: mentoring with an experienced professional; access to a series of employability masterclasses; and a summer internship where they apply their knowledge and get real life work experience.
Due to the current lockdown, the ‘Live Industry Insight’ masterclass took place virtually via Microsoft Teams with Arcadis’ Management Consultant Laura Reynolds, who covered everything from what a Management Consultant does, to diversity in the sector and why working for Google is perceived so well.
The masterclass proved popular with 25 students taking part. Laura spoke about her career to date, how she became a Management Consultant and why academic qualifications are not the be all and end all to forging your way in the industry.
She also discussed her recent project with a technology client, who were looking to roll out new ways of working and deliver a cutting-edge workspace, to be leaders in their industry. Laura explained that the average cost of a single desk space in London today is roughly £10,000 per year. With a large workforce and space challenges in cities, a more worthwhile use of space is to match it to usage patterns by providing more collaborative and creative spaces. Laura talked through the process of finding innovative solutions to maximise productivity and drive down costs whilst keeping the client company’s ‘fun’ ethos.
During the masterclass students were highly engaged and posed questions on progression in the sector and tips for success. They really enjoyed the masterclass, with one student commenting: “It was good to know about the different jobs you can do and how your qualifications and also interests can help you stand out and have a successful career.” Another student said, “It was really interesting to hear from someone who has been in a position that we will be in and the decisions they made while there. The thing I’ll take from the event is that she did the degree she loved and then found a job she enjoyed.”
Afterwards Laura told us: “I had a fantastic time hosting the first session for WestKing’s Career Ready’s Virtual Masterclass series. As a management consultant working at Arcadis, I hoped to give the students a flavour of what it is like to work in a fast-paced, client-facing environment for a leading engineering consultancy. I volunteered because I wanted to challenge stereotypes that might exist in students’ minds about what “type of person” a management consultant is. The students were incredibly engaged and responsive, posing challenging questions and displaying to me that they really connected with the essence of what management consulting is and that they had a sincere passion to grow their own careers.”
Carlo Liu, Employability and Progression Lead at WestKing said: “Now more than ever, young people – especially those who are disadvantaged – need to be able to boost their employability and showcase their talents, which is why we are continuing to connect our learners with employers and industry with live activities like this. The Arcadis team were involved in planning the session, to ensure our learners had an interesting and insightful masterclass. It was a great live session!”
Driven by its success, the Employability Team aim to host a masterclass for each curriculum area during the lockdown period, ensuring that as many students as possible can benefit.
If you would like to find out more, please contact our Employability and Progression Lead, Carlo Liu, at email@example.com