Improving skills in Responsible Business
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Language is the greatest barrier to employment for many refugees. That is why Natalie Lesbirel, an executive assistant at Deloitte in Manchester, recently volunteered to sit down and talk to refugee women as part of an English conversation clubs initiative - just one way in which Deloitte is helping to change lives as part of One Million Futures.
Talking can change lives. It seems such a simple thing. To spend an hour with someone, once a week. However, it can have a profound impact, as I discovered when I volunteered to talk to refugee women at the English Conversation Club.
Workers with strong transferable skills, combined with a confident, flexible mindset, are the most resilient according to Deloitte’s latest report in their ‘Power Up’ series. So how do you acquire these in-demand skills and use them to navigate the new and ever changing world of work? Deloitte Consultant Ale Rebon Portillo, who has enjoyed a varied and interesting career path, shares his insights.
A fashion adviser. A Catholic seminarian (trainee priest). An electronic engineer. And a software consultant.
You might think that all of these roles have little in common. However, they are all jobs I have done along my rather unconventional career path. While I admit that on the surface there seems to be a disconnect between this eclectic range of roles, look at the skills required for each job and you will discover they all share some of the most sought-after transferable skills – the ones we all need if we are to future-proof our career.
Committed to making an impact on the refugee crisis, Deloitte has launched an initiative to help uncover Syrian refugee economic potential in Europe. As part of this, senior consultant, Gaya Sarin, 28, volunteered to be one of the researchers conducting interviews with Syrian refugees – alongside a team from Deloitte UK, Austria, and the Netherlands. The data they collected into the skills and ambitions of these refugees – as well as the barriers they face in accessing employment - forms part of a report just published by Deloitte and the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. It is just one of the ways Deloitte is making a difference as part of its UK social impact strategy, One Million Futures.
The Syrian refugee sitting across the table was the same age as me. We had both left our homelands in search of opportunity – me as an economic migrant, he after fleeing from a terrible conflict that has claimed so many lives.
However, as we talked I discovered that our lives had little else in common.
As a passionate supporter of Teach First, the charity set up to tackle inequality in education, Nick Owen, Chairman of Deloitte NWE, recently went back to school. He talked to pupils at Cantell School in Southampton as part of The Big Class Challenge, and is calling on others to follow in his footsteps, delivering special classroom activities that will encourage and inspire children from low-income communities to ‘dream big’.
Standing in front of a class of 14-year-olds, I did wonder if they would connect with me. After all, I am a 50 something white bloke who lives in London and here I was in a school where half the pupils’ first language is not English and more than one in five qualify for free school meals.
The ace up my sleeve to grab their attention was my local connection.
I don’t know where they expected the Chairman of Deloitte to have been educated. It probably wasn’t the sixth form college not that far away in Chichester. Yes, I left school at 16 to do my A levels at sixth form college. I doubt they were anticipating that.
The start of the new academic year is an exciting time for pupils, and those that support them. As part of our education programme, Deloitte Access, volunteers are helping students from all backgrounds to prepare for success. Runa Khanom-Bakshi is a consultant in our Cardiff office, and her son, Yousuf, attends one of the schools benefiting from Access. After he achieved 13 A*s in his GCSEs, Runa shares her own experience of the difference that employers can make.
This time last year I was launching my online maths tutorial business…from the spare bedroom at the top of my house.
One year on and Hegarty Maths is now being used in over 10 per cent of secondary schools and by 5,700 teachers to plan classes, assess pupils and set and track homework.
More than one million hours of learning have already been completed and an astounding 60 million questions have been answered.
Going forward the figures are even more ambitious and we are on track to be in 1,000 schools helping one million children.
Impressed? Well, I haven’t done it on my own.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of young people all across the UK walk with some trepidation into their first interviews. Every year, the same demographics tend to get chosen: university educated, attendees of selective schools, articulate and well presented. But does this mean that the best candidates are getting the jobs? Or are we failing to spot a huge pool of talent that hasn’t had a chance to hone their interpersonal skills?
The charity City Gateway thinks so. They run courses offering young people aged 16-25 skills workshops, work experience, CV and interview skills preparation. Last year the charity was selected to be a Deloitte society partner as part of One Million Futures. Their aim is to bring hope to communities by developing the skills and confidence needed to secure long-term education and employment outcomes that will transform futures.