Every now and then, life offers us a unique opportunity to experience something special. Last Thursday (30 May 2019), was just that kind of opportunity! It was the EY Foundation‘s Our Future Graduation event, where nine young people – having experienced EY Foundation’s workability training, two weeks of work experience at CareTech plc offices and services and the guidance of CareTech plc staff as mentors – were able to celebrate their commitment and achievements.
EY Foundation’s Our Future is a paid employability skills and work experience programme, accredited by the Chartered Management Institute, designed to help 16-19 year olds find a job. It is paid, it links each young person with their own individual mentor and it comes with qualifications that matter.
CareTech Foundation is proud to be partners in delivering this wonderful programme with EY Foundation, not just for the young people, but also the CareTech plc staff. Before the Graduation Event, CareTech plc CEO, Haroon Sheikh, and Executive Chairman, Farouq Sheikh, met the young people, business hosts and mentors.
Foundation CEO Jonathan Freeman hosted the Meet & Greet event. The event was brilliantly insightful as Haroon, Farouq and Jonathan shared their thoughts on the programme, how important it was to the Foundation and the business but also personally to themselves. Most importantly, though, the meeting enabled the young people to share their experiences of the programme as well as their aspirations for the future. It also gave an opportunity to everyone to look back at their own journey and share their experiences. We are grateful to all the mentors and hosts who attended, shared their personal experience and to Nikita who travelled early from EY Foundation to attend the event.
After the Meet & Greet, staff headed to the Graduation Event, hosted by EY Foundation in their offices in London. It was a beautifully planned event, hosted by two of the young people on the programme. It was a wonderful occasion made even more special by the words (and performance) of the speakers – Robert Pope (Southern Hub Leader – EY Foundation), Jonathan Freeman (CEO – CareTech Foundation) and Roger Samuels (pastor, motivational speaker and former contestant on The Voice UK). Our very own Clair Pike awarded the Young Person of the Programme Award.
As the young people collected their certificates and soaked in the applause, there was a great sense of pride in the room. That pride was not limited to one person; all of us felt it. The parents, the mentors, the hosts, young people and organisers.
As Year 1 of Our Future closes and we begin planning the next four programmes, we at the Foundation would like to thank everyone for their involvement. These young people brought a fresh curiosity with them, something the care sector and CareTech plc greatly appreciate. Our Business Hosts and Mentors benefited greatly too and, to their credit, they committed 100% to the programme; since day one, they have taken on their responsibilities, planned, delivered and rightly felt proud of their achievements at the Graduation. Many of the staff were first-time mentors, but that did not stop them from being productive and if the proof is in the pudding then the bond that has been created and the praise attracted from both sides for each other is a wonderful indication of the quality offered. We have had some wonderful moments in this programme and as this chapter closes, we are very glad that there are still two more years to go.
In the end, this experience will prove to be a guiding force for us all. It is never too late to stop learning. Experience is as much about finding what you are passionate about as much as it is about knowing what does not motivate you. In the end, as Jonathan said – do what makes you happy.