HOW DO YOU FIND THE RIGHT COMMUNITY IMPACT PROGRAMME?
FTI Consulting and Young Citizens’ discuss the “Experts in Schools” partnership and how organisations can find the right community impact programme to achieve meaningful engagement.
Following the financial crisis, FTI Consulting, a global business advisory firm, was looking for a meaningful community engagement programme that utilised the expertise of their economists, financial experts and communication specialists.
In 2012, a former teacher at the company introduced us to Young Citizens – an education charity that empowers young people with the skills needed to become active citizens. Through Young Citizens we discovered there was a gap in the national curriculum. Young people growing up in the aftermath of the financial crisis were not learning about it in the classroom.
Together with Young Citizens’ specialist educational knowledge and FTI Consulting’s expertise, we created an interactive three-hour “Boom, Bust & Crunch” programme. This formed the basis of a successful nine-year partnership, now rebranded to “Experts in Schools” to fit our company strapline, “Experts with Impact”. Through this partnership, both Young Citizens and FTI Consulting have been able to meet their strategic goals around community impact, corporate citizenship and youth empowerment, whilst also benefitting our business and our colleagues who greatly support social mobility and youth empowerment. This programme gave professionals the chance to volunteer in the classroom and faciliate groups of 5-6 students, aged 14-17, to explore the real-life impacts of the financial crisis.
The success of the partnership heavily relies on our staying nimble in the face of evolving educational needs, thus our programme now includes:
1. Corporate employee volunteering programmes such as
- Economic and Media Experts in Schools, our three-hour lessons;
- ‘Be the teacher’, one-hour virtual “Banking Crisis” or “Covid and the Economy” lessons;
2. A Brexit Conference
3. Classroom resources for teachers (Mock Parliament, Digital Citizenship and Who owns My Data);
4. An annual work experience programme for ten young people;
5. Career webinars on Cybersecurity and Public Affairs.
In response to the challenge of COVID-19, we collaborated throughout 2020 to digitise the Experts in Schools programme with the “Be the Teacher” toolkit. This includes a one-hour Banking Crisis Simulation and a one-hour COVID and the Economy expert-assisted lesson. Plans for 2021 include interactive careers webinars on Cybersecurity, Public Affairs and other core business specialisms to further bolster the partnership’s sustainability.
You can develop strong community impact programmes of your own by asking:
1) How can you secure buy-in from all staff early on? Experts in Schools was developed by our marketing, finance, economics, business intelligence and technology experts, and it is this wide support and engagement that enabled it to grow rapidly.
2) Can we build a strong relationship from the beginning? Mutual commitment and dialogue is foundational; this has seen our programme thrive even through personnel changes.
3) Are you afraid of changing a successful formula? Experimentation ensures the programme’s relevance and adaptability to changing needs e.g. digitisation due to COVID. Be ambitious. By adapting these resources for French-speaking Belgian schools, and piloting the sessions in the communities surrounding our global offices, we take a step closer towards meeting- or surpassing- our goal; reaching 100,000 students by 2030.
We’re also excited that in June 2021, we will be taking on 10 students for work experience placements, 50% of whom are female and 80% are from BAME backgrounds. This new development in our partnership benefits us by delivering on our company’s Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging agenda as well as helping to diversify our talent pipeline and growing our own talent as early as the age of 16. Despite diversification and expansion, supporting the next generation’s citizenship education, while empowering staff to use their specialisms for social good, remains at the heart of our partnership as we look to globalise our impact with growing success.Co-authored by Kirsty Christie, EMEA corporate citizenship senior manager, corporate, FTI Consulting, Elizabeth Teixeira, project specialist, corporate, FTI Consulting and Therri Tait, partnerships manager for 'Experts in Schools' London.
Co-authored by Kirsty Christie, EMEA corporate citizenship senior manager at FTI Consulting, Elizabeth Teixeira, project specialist at FTI Consulting and Therri Tait, partnerships manager for 'Experts in Schools' London.