Empowering others and social responsibility are two of our values at Progeny. One of the ways we can strive for both these goals is by supporting our charitable partnerships and providing an annual volunteer day for all employees. The latter is a paid day off every year for each member of the Progeny team to volunteer and give back to a cause of their choice.

There are a number of ways a Progeny employee can use their volunteering day, but one of the charities many of our team have donated their time to is the Ahead Partnership.

It is an organisation that delivers a range of social value projects that help overcome inequality, promote opportunity and deliver positive change in society, including developing crucial skills in students and young adults.

We hear from two of our team who donated their time to this important charitable cause.

Seana Donnelly is a Talent Manager in our People team:

“Last week, the Talent team visited a local school to take part in volunteering. It was a speed networking event which gave students the opportunity to speak to and learn from businesspeople from a wide variety of sectors.

“On the day, we rotated around tables of students answering questions on career opportunities and sharing our knowledge from working in recruitment with young people who are considering their employment options. When asked ‘What advice would you give to your younger self?’, we expressed the importance of exploring all your options, such as going to university and apprenticeships. It was great to be able to share insights from our own experiences of finding a career, while also helping others to find theirs.

“From our perspective, we all left the session with a better understanding of how to communicate with young people. Taking part in this highlighted the importance of using your knowledge and experience to help inform others, and it’s pleasing to know that you can contribute positively to someone else’s life just from one day of activity like this. The students went away feeling more confident about their next steps after school, using our experiences as examples to help them decide what paths to take for themselves and their own career goals.”

Alex Shaw is an Associate Director in our Financial Planning team.

“One of the opportunities provided by the Ahead Partnership was at Heckmondwike Grammar School, to provide mock interviews with Year 10 students. The main crux of the session was that each student was to have prepared a short presentation on their chosen potential career, followed by an Apprentice-like grilling from us, covering typical questions they would potentially be asked in a job interview.

“I really didn’t know what to expect, but I can honestly say I was blown away by the level of preparation the students showed with their chosen subjects.

“However, the one pupil who will stick with me was a girl who had misplaced her notes and came into the room in a real panic and was quite upset. Being a father of a young girl my heart went out to her and the “dad” in me kicked in – there was no way I was going to let her hard work go to waste. She went and found them, then we sat down and had a little chat so she could compose herself, and after a few deep breaths from her and a reassuring smile from me, she was off. I was not disappointed – she smashed it and we had the best session. Her smile at the end of the interview was worth turning-up for on its own.

“I found the day so much more rewarding than I envisaged. I got to see some impressive young people in action, but I also got the chance to help them improve on themselves. I felt like all my life and professional experience was useful in a completely different way than I had previously used it.

“I came home feeling like I had genuinely made a difference. I also felt happy that if these young men and women are the leaders of tomorrow, then we’re in safe hands.”

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