The Speed Networking Session was an initiative of the University of Nottingham’s Ingenuity Programme in partnership with Nuffield Health and Stone Soup Academy. The aim of the event was to provide an innovative, new learning and development programme for female learners in alternative provision. Stone Soup Academy is an alternative provision free school in Nottingham supporting students' academic and personal development outside mainstream education.
As a student in secondary school, I struggled to grasp abstract concepts and could not appreciate topics that I couldn’t immediately see their relevance in day to day life. However, this changed when I attended a career event and listened to a past student talk about how the subjects she learnt in secondary school directly and indirectly helped her through further education and in her career. I remember thinking to myself that I would put in the work required in my studies, so that I could have a good career like that lady. With a career at Compuco, it’s safe to say that the effort paid off.
Fast forward to March 2023, when I was invited to mentor female learners in Years 10 and 11 from the Stone Soup Academy in Nottingham, as an alumni of the University of Nottingham. It felt like a full circle moment, and I immediately accepted to participate in the event.
There were six of us who were selected to be mentors, for the speed mentoring session. The event started with a briefing by the organizer of the session, we were briefed about the Ingenuity Programme and its aim to create a positive impact in society; the Stone Soup Academy and how it ensures that students who fail to thrive in a mainstream school environment have a genuine educational alternative, and finally about the students we were going to interact with. We also went through some safeguarding guidelines to make sure that there was a safe environment for the students.
The mentors went in pairs to sit with the students, who were seated in groups of two, and answered their queries. I was questioned regarding my academic and professional experiences and how they assisted in the development of practical skills for both my career and personal growth. Mentors spent 5 mins with each student group before they had to switch and interact with another group of students (hence, the speed networking). It was fulfilling to help inspire the young women in just 5 mins.
There are several ways to get involved with the stone soup academy, you can do this by:
You will be contacted for subsequent interviews to help match you to a volunteering activity that suits your interests and experiences.
This amazing mentorship experience was only possible because of the Compuco Volunteering Time Off (VTO). In line with its commitment to build a better world, Compuco offers employees a two days paid leave to take part in initiatives that foster social good. Another reason to work with Compuco!