‘We sometimes forget what we are educating them for – it’s for life, for work, not just the Sixth Form. For example, communication and resilience, they’re life skills that need to be taught through regular interactions and experiences,’ says Yvonne Powell, Principal at Ark’s Walworth Academy. She believes that in order to prepare her students for long-term success, Walworth must give them skills beyond the academic.
To address these concerns, Walworth is co-delivering a targeted mentoring programme with the generous support of State Street. State Street is providing the much needed funds for this programme as well as the employee volunteers who are mentoring students over the academic year. Mentors have been building positive relationships with a targeted group of Year 10 students at Walworth Academy who have been identified as being at risk of underachievement. Yvonne explains, ‘My students are not just competing with each other, they are competing with the best in the country. These types of programme are an integral part of their education.’
The partnership launched with a day at an outdoor centre, where students and mentors participated in team work challenges and abseiling, to ‘face their fears’ and develop resilience. In later sessions, mentors helped students create CVs and brought the students to State Street offices to get a real sense of what a future corporate career might look like. Whilst there, students practiced their interview ‘elevator pitch’ and networked to raise their confidence in speaking about themselves in a more formal setting. Most recently, Walworth students hosted an afternoon tea for their mentors.
Kieran Campbell, a year 10 student, says, ‘it’s been a lifetime opportunity. Now I know more about my future and what I want to do. My mentor has taught me the skills I can use to achieve.’
Sendy Cook, another student agrees, ‘it’s been the best opportunity I’ve ever had in my life.’
Maria Cantillon, Executive Vice Principal at State Street, says, ‘I was honoured to be part of the programme. It was incredible to witness the growth and transformation of the students and humbling to realise that a small commitment from my State Street colleagues and myself could have such a profound impact. I am proud to have met these superb ambassadors from Walworth and personally thank them for inviting me and State Street to be part of their life journey.’
At Ark, we know these types of interactions are crucial to transforming our students’ future life chances. We are grateful for the support and commitment State Street has shown to helping our students reach their goals. To learn more about how your business can support Ark, please contact Rachel.Connell@arkonline.org.