The Workfinder team enjoyed the opportunity to support a large group of students to experience life in a start-up environment

Workfinder hosted 17 students for a work experience taster day introducing them to the Tech Sector.


Host Overview

Workfinder connects young people with placements at great companies in just a few clicks. Our mission is to inspire the next generation and create a pipeline of talent to drive the UK’s most ambitious growth companies. We believe work experience is at the heart of this - regular contact between business and students is crucial.

Programme Structure

We delivered a one day work experience ‘taster day’ to offer a brief but valuable insight into the Tech Sector and the wide variety of careers available with an additional theme of ‘Tech for Good’. The aim was to support young people to be able to make informed career choices by hearing from a wide variety of role models within the sector who can offer advice and guidance. We hope to raise aspirations and inspire the students to consider a career in Tech and continue their journey by applying for additional extended work experience opportunities.

The opportunity was shared with local schools within the Academies Enterprise Trust and City and Islington College and the students applied for places via our app - https://www.workfinder.com/ We were really pleased to receive and accept applications from 17 students. Once their place had been confirmed all students received a welcome letter in advance, outlining what they could expect on the day and asking them to prepare questions for the speed networking session.

We wanted to ensure the day had a balanced mix of presentations along with activities and tasks for them to take part in. Following arrival, sign in at reception and a welcome introduction the format for the day was:-

9.30am - The students heard from members of the Workfinder team – Bella and Richard walked the students through their career journey to date and how their passion to make a difference led them to joining Founders4Schools and then Workfinder.

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10.00am - The Frog Challenge

This was a fun icebreaker activity which involved the students working in mixed groups. By solving the challenge they demonstrated skills they will require in the future when entering the workplace such as communication, problem solving, teamwork, leadership and strategic thinking.

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10.20am - Career journey speaker - Sherry Coutu CBE - Chair of The Scaleup Institute, Workfinder and Founders4Schools – What an amazing opportunity for the students to hear about the career journey Sherry has been on starting from a lumber town in Canada to becoming an extremely successful product strategist, angel investor, non-exec Director along with her passion to support young people’s careers choices which led her to become the Founder of Workfinder and Founders4Schools.

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11.00am - Career Speed Networking supported by business leaders from six tech organisations including:-

  • Ross O’Neill - Programme Manager at Raspberry Pi Foundation
  • Spencer Yates - Head of Marketing and Communications - Tassomai
  • Alex Reddish - Chief Commercial Officer - Tribe Payments
  • Lottie Liebling - Co-Founder & CEO - Reallm
  • Phil Barrie - Founder & CEO - Blokur
  • Alice Skeats - Senior UK PR & Communications Manager - Nextdoor

The speed networking session gave the students an excellent opportunity to meet a diverse selection of business leaders in a wide variety of roles. They were able to ask questions about the organisations they worked for along with understanding careers they had never come across before.

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12.00pm - Career journey speaker - Julia Stephenson - Senior Legal Advisor, Commercial & Group Marketing at ITV – Julia shared stories of her varied career journey from working with JayZ through to corporate lawyer with a couple of side hustles in cake making and podcasts!

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12.30pm - Team networking lunch and Rocketspace tour

1.30pm - Career journey speaker - Alex Farrell - Chief Executive Officer at Workfinder – As well as sharing insights from an amazing career journey Alex offered great tips and advice “Sometimes something happens in your career that’s you’re not expecting but can have a huge positive impact”.

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1:50pm - Tech for Good work-related project brief.

The students were shown a video introducing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s)- https://bit.ly/1PB06Xd. They were then set a task to select at least one of the SDG’s and create a tech company ‘for good’.

3.00pm - Teams to present project outcome

Every team was able to connect with at least one of the sustainable goals for development and build a pitch for their company's tech solution to this goal. They thought about the social impact of their products, the resources available in the communities their product might be used in and they considered how they could expand their ideas to tackle more of the goals at once. They were able to demonstrate their learning from the day by specifically explaining what job roles they would need in their tech start-up to get it off the ground, and the job roles they may have available as they scaled. One team was even able to confidently talk about how they would approach funding in different rounds! They took on board the advice given to them around presentation skills and stood confidently and spoke clearly whilst presenting their ideas back. Kudos to all of the young people involved!

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Business Benefit

Whilst we chose the tech sector and tech for good as the theme for the taster day, the programme could easily be replicated in a wide range of sectors. It was a great opportunity for the team to chat to the students about their future career aspirations and how Workfinder might support them on their journey. By working collaboratively with a number of local organisations we were able to offer insight into a wide range of roles and businesses.

"Events like this are vital to introduce students to sectors and roles they might not otherwise consider. Having worked at digital agencies and now at an EdTech startup I've seen first hand how many opportunities there are - particularly on the coding side - and how much demand there is for talent! Talking to people, finding out the variety of roles available in tech (much more than just coding!) is the best way to inspire students and expand their horizons" Spencer Yates, Head of Marketing and Communications at Tassomai

Hear what Alice Skeats from Nextdoor thought of the Career Speed Networking session here.

Benefit to Young Person

"At Academies Enterprise Trust we passionately believe in inspiring every young person to choose to live a remarkable life. Providing opportunities for young people to meet employers, work together and explore different work places is so important in helping them make informed decisions and prepare for their future. The Workfinder experiences of workplace day allowed our students to meet a diverse range of employers and entrepreneurs and truly inspired them to think about careers of the future." Ryan Gibson, National System Leader - Careers at Academies Enterprise Trust

We also received brilliant feedback from Richmond Park Academy student , Mumtaaz "I now realise the pathway I want to take doesn't have to be so narrow”. Watch Mumtaaz's video here.