The Talent Foundry is committed to levelling the playing field of opportunity between more affluent young people and those less fortunate, and we believe that the private sector can play a huge role in this. Additionally, research from the Careers and Enterprise Company shows that employee volunteering not only allows businesses to add value to schools and the lives of young people, but that young people and schools in turn offer huge value to businesses. In short, we treat social value as a significant business requirement rather than a ‘nice to have’, which means our programmes are able to respond to local social needs, whilst offering young people the chance to engage with their local labour market.
When we design our bespoke programmes, we are able to build in a ‘managed volunteering opportunity’ element if desired.
In practice, this means that we are able to organise, coordinate and optimise the involvement of employees in our workshops, which are all led by a professional Talent Foundry facilitator. Volunteers can support as a one-off or dedicate more time to the programme by acting as a business mentor.
All Talent Foundry initiatives aim to develop a variety of core transferrable skills in students, including confidence, public speaking, teamwork and presentation skills. These are all skills that volunteers from our corporate partners can help with, by spending the day supporting the workshops that we run.
In addition, volunteers offer students a real-world insight into the industry and the world of work more generally.
Clear benefits for young people
The Gatsby Benchmarks are a framework of eight guidelines from the Department for Education (DfE) that define the best careers provision in secondary schools. Example Benchmarks include that:
Furthermore, research from the Education and Employer’s Taskforce demonstrates that ‘students who receive four or more meaningful interactions with employers during their secondary school career are 86% less likely to be not in education, employment or training (NEET).’ 
The work that we do to facilitate valuable business engagement with schools through our programmes can therefore have a substantial and positive impact on the futures of young people, who should be able to access these opportunities regardless of their socioeconomic background.
Clear benefits for individual volunteers
Volunteering for good causes has undeniable benefits for employees. Our evaluations demonstrate that volunteers feel that they have developed their skills and found the experience valuable and rewarding for both themselves and their employers.
“Amazing day! I personally learnt a great deal from the students and was very impressed with them across the entire day.”
Employee volunteers have stated that they feel they gain a sense of achievement on a personal level as well as a team level, and consistently report feeling ‘inspired’ or re-motivated to tackle their own work.
“This is the 3rd year I've taken part in a Talent Foundry programme – it’s the kind of opportunity that I think would have benefitted me at their age, it’s very rewarding talking and working with the students, seeing how they think and how naturally technology comes to them when they are creating their presentations and brainstorming their ideas.”
Clear benefits for businesses
It is becoming more and more common for businesses to recognise the potential of volunteering to improve team skills, loyalty, morale and productivity, which in turn contributes to staff retention.
The 2011 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey revealed that 61% of young employees said that a volunteering programme would be a deciding factor when faced with a decision between two job offers. The survey also found that employees who volunteer during work time report being more loyal and committed to their company.
There are also clear benefits to every organisation in engaging with ‘the next generation’, and volunteers who support our programmes commonly report that the experience gave them an insight or perspective that they would not otherwise have been able to achieve through their day-to-day work. In other words, volunteering can give employees a greater understanding of the issues surrounding their communities. Exposure to a diversity of perspectives and opinions is always a valuable business asset.
“This is my third year volunteering for The Talent Foundry, and each year it is getting better and better. Education is key and the team do a fantastic job in getting young children fired up on technology. We, as Dell mentors bring huge value to the workshops and the students really look up to us as role models. In today’s challenging world, it is crucial that we equip young people with the skills they need to succeed and make them aware that lifelong learning is key. I have always had a positive experience volunteering. The Talent Foundry do an incredible job.”
 Education and Employer’s Taskforce (2012) Employer contact at school reduces likelihood of young people
If you work for a company that has a genuine interest in helping young people find what they are amazing at whilst increasing the business’s pipeline of untapped talent, please get in touch with our Head of Programmes, Cate Smith.