Students from seven Ark schools recently attended a unique event hosted by Capgemini, designed to give students a preview of life as a business consultant.
More than 60 students attended the one-day workshop, held at Capgemini’s London offices in Holborn. The session was part of Ark’s Professional Pathways programme, supporting students to achieve BTEC Level 3 qualifications and preparing them for an increasingly competitive employment landscape.
"Events such as this are about more than building up student CVs" said Michelle Perkins, Director of Schools Outreach at Capgemini. "This is an opportunity for them to work on their employability skills. We’ve been really pleased with the enthusiasm that the students and teachers have shown – everyone has been really engaged with the work."
The day saw students split into teams that worked together to develop mobile phone apps. The process involved identifying business problems and then developing mobile phone apps to address them. The programme was developed in partnership with Apps for Good – an organisation dedicated to helping young people learn about new technologies.
"It’s about giving young people insight into what it like to be digital technologists for a day," said Ms Perkins. "This isn’t about coding, it’s about solutions – using your brains to solve problems. It’s also a one-day snapshot of what Capgemini does and what it would be like to work here."
Additionally, students were given training on interview techniques and were encouraged to apply to Capgemini’s apprenticeship programme.
"Events like this one help us with core skills like creativity, innovation and working with and leading a team," said Mohammed, an 18 year old student from Ark King Solomon Academy. "Opportunities like this are really good. There’s going to be more competition in the work force and standards are only going to increase, so being here is an opportunity to learn about technology and business."
Mohammed’s team developed an idea for an app that would provide real-time booking for business such as barber shops – helping consumers to avoid long wait times. The year 13 student has offers from five universities in hand, but has expressed strong interest in Capgemini’s degree apprenticeship programme, which combines university with paid work experience. "I’ll be the first person from my family to go to university," he said at the event. "At Ark King Solomon, our teachers are always telling us to take advantage of every opportunity you get and make the best of it. I’m just really interested in business and finding out more about Capgemini."
For Capgemini, a global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing services, the event wasn’t just designed to support young people, it was also an opportunity to identify future talent.
"We have to have the best people work here because our business, our product is our people. You have to find them, you have to grow them and you have to let them be themselves, but also give them the training and tools they need," said Ms Perkins. "If everyone we worked with had the same background, then we’d run the risk of having only one way of thinking. We don’t want that. We want clever people with different points of view and perspectives."
To find out more about Ark’s Professional Pathways Programme, please contact Chloe Holmes.