"Helping Future Leaders Now" (Jersey Evening Post - 17 June 2020)

As part of a regular series, IoD Jersey is sharing insights into the work of its specialist sub-committees, highlighting the role that it plays in supporting Jersey’s business community. This week it is the turn of the Chair of the Student Sub-Committee, Debbie Reeve.

IoD Jersey isn’t just committed to supporting its members who are already directors, or working towards that status, it sees the role of nurturing the future generation of business leaders, as critical. This is why I chair a sub-committee dedicated to developing programmes for students still in full time education.

We all know the importance of education, but leaving school after A levels, or University and trying to enter the workforce, will sometimes be the first time that young people have engaged with the business world. We think it is really important that students are not only able to access first-hand work experience, which most do through the local Trident scheme, but also an insight into what it means to be a leader in an organisation. This is why we established the IoD Jersey Future Leaders Scheme.

What is the IoD Jersey Future Leaders Scheme?

The IoD Jersey Future Leaders Scheme is a work experience scheme kindly sponsored by KPMG, which allows Year 12 students to spend one week shadowing a Director or Senior Manager working across a number of sectors in the Island. The aim of the scheme is to provide students an insight into the work of a business leader which will hopefully help inform their further educational decisions, as well as offer them valuable experience which can be taken into a future job role.

We will try to match students with a leader who works in a sector aligned to their career aspirations. IoD Jersey has contacts in a large variety of finance and non-finance roles. However, the main benefit of the scheme is that students gain an opportunity to shadow a senior leader (regardless of sector) and truly get to see what happens at the top. Many of the scheme leaders also serve as ongoing mentors to the students that shadow them.

At the end of the week, students are required to submit a 500-word report summarising their shadowing experience. The report is marked by a panel consisting of IoD, KPMG and experienced careers reps, and combined with the interview assessment mark, Curriculum Vitae and video application, we will reach an overall winner who wins a cash prize.

This really is an invaluable opportunity for students to get first hand insight into the role of a leader, to add great experience to their C.V. and to also build contacts that may assist them in their future career path. Although IoD Jersey can’t arrange for students to shadow Richard Branson, there are plenty of local business leaders who are real trailblazers and readily take the opportunity of having students sit alongside them for five days – attending meetings and getting the inside track on what it takes to lead a successful organisation.

Nicolle Maltwood, a former Future Leaders Scheme participant and member of the Students Sub Committee noted, ‘I was lucky enough to shadow Steven Austin-Vautier who at the time was the Chief Officer of Home Affairs. I completed my week’s shadowing after board meetings with the heads of the Police, Fire, Prison and Social Services as well as a day touring all of the respite and care homes on the island during a review of our local services. And to top it all off, I was also included in a large away day with all the Heads of Government departments planning the future of the island. It is an experience I will never forget and also one I thoroughly enjoyed!’

As a UK recognised scheme that can be used towards UCAS applications, gaining a place on the Future Leaders Scheme is prestigious and therefore places are sought after.

How do students apply?

We have refreshed our application process to make it easier and embrace the use of technology. Students are asked to submit a one-minute video along with their C.V. as part of the initial application. The video element in particular aims to better prepare students for future application processes. It is becoming increasingly important to demonstrate the interpersonal as well as the academic side when applying for positions. Even through the application process, we are trying to shape leaders of the future.

A shortlist of students are then invited by IoD Jersey to attend an interview, where they receive feedback on the interview itself and their C.V. Many students find this feedback invaluable as it may be the first time they have had to formally interview or submit an application for a position. Successful students are then invited to be part of the scheme and paired up with an appropriate leader based on their indicated area of interest.

Timeline

The deadline for applications is the 31st January each year and IoD Jersey aims to send out invitations for interviews in February, with the interviews being held during March.

The timing of the shadowing can be flexible, however if possible, they are arranged during school holidays.

What else does IoD Jersey offer Students?

We are delighted to have recently agreed a new student membership for the IoD. Apart from the leadership scheme, it is important for young people to network with experienced business leaders who can offer advice and mentoring and also to simply recognise a face when the school or university leaver applies for a job. Student membership is offered at 50% off our usual fee, at just £75 for the year, and of course all the resources of the IoD are available.

Is this only for young people?

The Student sub-committee isn’t just myself. We are a highly experienced and passionate group of individuals and during these uncertain times, as well as providing feedback to students who have applied to the Future Leaders Scheme, we are looking to help the wider community by providing feedback on C.V.s. of all Sixth Form Students and those in their last year of University who are looking to apply for employment in the Island.

On the sub-committee with me are: Suzanne Job, Head of Careers at Victoria College; Sean Madden; Senior Consultant at Sionic; Tina Palmer, Associate Director at ASL Recruitment; Ceri Power, HR Business Partner at G4S; Nicolle Maltwood, Ecosystem Manager at Barclays Eagle Lab; Natasha Rowe, Talent Acquisition Consultant at KPMG Channel Islands and Rory Steel, Head of Academy at Digital Jersey; all are working with myself, a Senior Client Relationship Manager at Aztec Group, to widen opportunities for students.

In addition, I will be delivering a presentation at the Jersey Annual Skills and Employability Conference on Thursday 9th July, focusing on reskilling/adapting following COVID-19 and the impact that the pandemic has had on the local Finance industry.

Where do I find out more?

If you are a Student who would like to apply for the 2021 scheme, or are a Sixth-Form or University Student looking for feedback on their C.V., please contact me: [email protected]

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