Working for a Fairer Future: Our Activity with upReach

Students laughing while studying together

Over the past few months our charity partnership with social mobility charity upReach has strengthened as we hosted our first ‘Associates’, which is a term for undergraduate students who are part of upReach’s programme. The fact that all activity was online did not detract from its value and the presence of the Associates in the company’s activity has strengthened us as an organisation.

About upReach

upReach increases social mobility by helping those from more disadvantaged backgrounds to secure jobs at leading companies. Currently the job market favours those who are more privileged, either due to unpaid internships or private schooling or tuition. Non-selective state schools account for only 30% of those on graduate schemes even though they educate nearly 90% of the population.  Despite the increase in students from less-advantaged backgrounds attending university, upon graduation they are being met with challenges.

upReach works to improve social mobility by giving opportunities to students from less-advantaged backgrounds to help them reach the top graduate jobs and build successful careers. Their vision is of a society in which everybody is able to realise their full career potential, regardless of social background. Not only does upReach help young people to achieve their career potential by addressing the socio-economic employment barriers, but it also seeks to influence the hiring behaviours of top organisations in order to commit to offering equal opportunity. Czarnikow, along with many other organisations, is partnering with upReach to provide opportunities for graduates and in turn enrich our organisation with a new and diverse talent pool.

Our Activity

We hosted a webinar for over 60 Associates titled: What’s the difference between various roles in investment banking and global markets, trading, research and more? Trader Wassim Sasso was part of a panel alongside other professionals from the banking and finance industries in an  event for Associates. It was a success with feedback saying the session was interactive and that it was beneficial to hear from “a range of people in multiple roles and hear their different perspectives”.

The mentorship programme for 2019/20 ran for four Associates and offered a more in-depth insight into work at Czarnikow and the sector more generally. The programme aims to support undergraduates define their career goals and gain insights and experiences that would not have been open to them through family networks or personal connections, as often is the case with more privileged students. Mentors can assist upReach Associates with job applications, answer industry questions and help with interview preparation and other soft skills. Lucas, Head of Corporate Accounting at Czarnikow was one of the first mentors to be part of the programme and told us a bit more about her experience:

My mentee is just about to enter her final year at university and during the Summer is taking part in a couple of internships. We’ve been meeting every couple of weeks, and her main focus is figuring out what industry she wants to go into when she graduates, so we’ve spent time talking about different types of roles and industries. We’ve only been meeting for 3 months and I can already see her becoming more confident in discussing what she wants from a job. It hasn’t been one sided though, I believe being a mentor is strengthening my coaching and communication skills and that is something I can utilise in my current role.

Katie’s mentee, Ivânia, said; “My mentoring program has been great! It has been a pleasure working with Katie, she has helped me to tailor my career path and think more broadly about my career options. She has been very attentive with my needs and is always ready to help me.”  Our hope is that by working closely with Katie to gain an insight into her career in our Accounts department, Ivânia will be able to build her own successful career in a similar field.

Developing the Partnership

As our work with upReach develops, we will not only be providing mentors but engaging in other elements of the partnership that can support upReach’s associates. Other opportunities include hosting events in our offices once restrictions have been eased, taking part in Careers Academy Week and working closely with the team to develop any further opportunities.  

Author: Carys Wright