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Influencing the future of a community as an Enterprise Adviser

03 Jun 2024

As Global Community Lead at Ideagen, my responsibility is to lead the social impact that our business has on an international scale – but I’ll always be attached to Nottingham and its young people because of my background in local employability services.

Ideagen specialises in compliance-driven software solutions, so we’re particularly interested in demonstrating how technology can be used for good. In this way, being an Enterprise Adviser allows me to directly influence change by marrying up my role, my background and my values.

Creating a community-minded workplace culture

Before I joined Ideagen, our CEO Ben Dorks had already spent time as an Enterprise Adviser, which strengthened his passion for deepening the company’s influence in the local community. Our shared experiences of being Enterprise Advisers helped us to embed a company-wide philosophy of supporting careers education. As a result, we launched our global volunteering programme and now have multiple employees interested in getting involved.

Our employees also now have the option to take five volunteering days each year. To generate ideas on how they can use this time, we advertise the volunteering opportunities available to them – including the Enterprise Adviser and ​ċgive an hour’ initiatives.

We always encourage our cohort of colleague ambassadors to ‘give an hour’ of their time to our partnership with Nottingham Forest Community Trust. This programme, called ‘Think Big’, promotes careers in technology across the city – and delivering this message to thousands of young people alongside a respected and well-known local institution only strengthens its impact.

The importance of shared ambitions

In the spirit of citywide collaboration, I’ve taken an agile approach to my work as an Enterprise Adviser. I support lots of schools and colleges, but I definitely feel like part of the team at Stone Soup Academy. We’ve fostered a sense of togetherness through a combination of regular meetings, open conversations, and a constant focus on our mutual ambition: improving the future of young people.

I knew we could build something exciting together because their motto, ‘Creating Unimagined Futures’, resonated with not just my own values, but with the community strategies of Ideagen and ‘Think Big’ too. It’s a pledge that reflects our desire to drive social mobility by providing new opportunities – and it’s become a constant motivation for everything we do.

Bringing it all together

In a ‘Think Big’ session I hosted at Ideagen a couple of years ago, a young person from Stone Soup suggested that bespoke technology could be deployed to support first-aid efforts across the city. Amazingly, this student’s idea sparked a collaboration between us, Multi-Academy Trusts, Nottingham Forest Community Trust, and East Midlands emergency services.

The project will be revealed in full later this year, but the progress we’ve made is truly indicative of the power of meaningful careers initiatives in action: from the young person who conjured up the concept on a workplace visit, to the Ideagen degree apprentices who brought it to life as part of their dissertations. It proves that if they’re given the right platform, young people’s voices can have a powerful impact in business.

I believe what we’ve created together will have a long-term, real-life impact on the welfare of our city.

The process itself encapsulated everything I’ve been aiming to achieve as an Enterprise Adviser – a real culmination of my partnership with Stone Soup, the professional network I’ve built across the city, and the careers initiatives I’ve promoted at Ideagen.

Becoming an Enterprise Adviser

The beauty of being an Enterprise Adviser is that there’s plenty of ways to make an impact. All you need to start is the motivation to make a difference. Then, with that in mind, consider how your own expertise could support young people, schools and careers leaders. It’s incredibly rewarding, and you have the potential to influence educators and improve careers education in your community.

Our business took the first step and is now reaping the benefits – but we need more brilliant people and organisations to do the same. The Enterprise Adviser role is a perfect starting point for those who want to learn, collaborate and make a lasting difference in preparing young people for the future of work.

Blog by Claire Knee, Enterprise Adviser and Global Community Lead at Ideagen

Become an Enterprise Adviser today

Working with a local school or college, your role as an Enterprise Adviser can help support pathways into your industry and shape young people's futures.

You can help bridge the gap between the world of work and education, working with the ţƵ Leader and wider senior leaders of the school or college to create opportunities for young people.

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