It is Learning at Work Week (15th to 21st May), an annual event to foster a culture of learning at work and Career Accelerator, a leading business education company, is highlighting how their mentoring programmes are helping employees from leading businesses to develop new skills, learn about diversity and inclusion and contribute to society.
Career Accelerator works with top companies including Cisco, GoCardless and Pearson to provide mentoring programmes that connect businesses with young students from diverse backgrounds, providing developmental opportunities for their employees and, at the same time, helping prepare these young people for their future careers.
Through Career Accelerator’s Neurodiversity and Disability programme and LGBT+ business mentoring, employees are benefiting from interacting with young people, enabling them to grow both professionally and personally. Businesses benefit too because they are building more diverse future talent pipelines and increasing employee engagement. Research by social platform Neighbourly found that 85% of businesses find volunteering advances talent as part of the learning and development strategy, plus employees who have volunteered with their company are 13% happier than those who have not.
Mayur Gupta, CEO at Career Accelerator said: “Mentoring gives employees a valuable and insightful way to gain new skills and have new experiences, plus give something back to their community by building young people’s confidence and knowledge as they start out in their working lives. Our programmes work with a diverse range of young people including neurodiverse and disabled people, and those from ethnic backgrounds, many of whom are not given the usual chances in life to access and thrive at work. In Learning at Work week, we encourage other businesses to get involved and offer their employees this unique volunteering opportunity. It’s a fantastic way to improve wellbeing, boost learning and development, plus position the business as a great place to work.”
GoCardless had been working with Career Accelerator for three years through their BEAM and Pride networks, two groups established to increase opportunity for the Black, Ethnic and Asian minority community, and to ensure LGBTQIA+ employees feel represented and empowered to be themselves, respectively. Over this time they have mentored more than 20 students and young people to give them a glimpse of what it’s like to work at a fast-growing tech company.
Hamish Wood, Senior Manager, Customer Success UK&I, said the experience has been invaluable in helping employees develop new skills and experiences. He said: “The Career Accelerator programme has been an enormous success at GoCardless. Our mentors say they’ve had the chance to step out of their comfort zone to gain new perspectives and greater empathy for others, which they’ll take into the future as we continue to hire and build diverse teams. It’s been a real development opportunity for those involved, in addition to a practical way to give back to our community. We would encourage any business to sign up for the Career Accelerator. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Cisco has been working with Career Accelerator for three years on the LGBT+ and Neurodiversity and Disability programme, as well as their schools programme.
Mariia Dryhval, Apprentice at Cisco said: “I was able to help my mentee understand the options available to help them to understand what would be best for them in the near future. Also, I answered their questions as I have been in their position not long ago and I know how difficult it can be to make the ‘right’ choice. I gained new skills and knowledge on how to be an effective mentor. I will also consider mentoring in the future.”
Pearson has also worked with Career Accelerator for two years on the LGBT+ and Neurodiversity and Disability programme.
Havana Abid, SVP Finance & Operations at Pearson said: “As a company dedicated to improving lives through learning this programme gave me a unique opportunity as an employer mentor to work directly with young neurodivergent people. The Career Accelerator programme was a great way to connect with and guide students through a series of mentoring and coaching sessions in a meaningful way, sharing my own experience, helping them better understand and explore the world of work and enriching the learning by turning this into real-life impact for them. The sessions were amazing, fun, and humbling as I got to work with very talented young people starting on their work journeys and through the mentoring helping them create career and work pathways. This programme resonated deeply with me personally, as I am parent of a neurodivergent student as well as professionally, as Pearson is all about helping people realise the life they imagine through learning and work skills. I would recommend any employer out there to get involved in the programme – it was a fantastic and rewarding experience, allowing me to bring what I do every day to life for these learners.”