It’s Volunteer’s Week and ThinkForward would like to acknowledge and celebrate the support, enthusiasm and commitment of everyone who gives up their time for the young people on our programme.

Around 300 people volunteer for ThinkForward across all our ready for work activities in Nottingham, Kent and London.

It’s our partnerships with businesses and their staff which enable us to provide some of the vital elements of our programme – giving young people the opportunity to learn more about careers and different workplaces through insight days, sharing knowledge to develop CV writing and interview skills and also to have a mentor.

Mentors build meaningful relationships, share their experiences, give advice and encouragement, break down barriers to the world of work and support young people to develop new skills, confidence and aspiration.

The beauty of volunteering with ThinkForward through your workplace is that everyone benefits. Businesses recognise that providing a CSR programme their employees can engage with helps them attract the best talent, staff grow professionally and personally from giving up their time to volunteer and young people in the community gain experiences and knowledge they would probably not have otherwise.

Henry Ellis at KPMG in Nottingham is a volunteer mentor working with students at NUSA & Ellis Guilford School. He said: ‘I believe it is important to volunteer with ThinkForward because it gives me the chance to draw on personal experiences to help guide future generations of our local community.

‘Volunteering over the last two years has developed my own personal awareness and taught me something new every week. The students ThinkForward work with are inspiring and always willing to learn, which gives me a great sense of fulfilment as a mentor. The development individuals show between the start and the end of the mentoring sessions is amazing and the growth in character and personality makes it all worthwhile.’

Nicolette Bassan, our business partnerships manager in Kent said: ‘ThinkForward is fortunate to work with some amazing businesses, big and small, who recognise the value of volunteering for their staff and also the wider benefits to the community of supporting young people get ready for the workplace.

‘Hosting insight visits, giving a careers talk or supporting a group of young people to get ready for a job or college interview are just some of the ways that people volunteer with us. We know that staff get a huge amount of personal satisfaction through volunteering and learn new skills themselves at the same time, while our young people really do value the time staff give up to support them.’

As part of our social action work with young people ThinkForward also encourages students to volunteer and give back to their local community. For example, in Kent young people from all six of our schools have been volunteering with the Bay Trust in Deal, carrying out environmental improvements and creating play spaces for children.

It’s great to see the positive ethos of volunteering starting to develop in the next generation.

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