From Fastlaner to Employee: A behind the scenes on the UpRising Fastlaners programme.

From Fastlaner to Employee: A behind the scenes on the UpRising Fastlaners programme.

April 24, 2019

When I started on the UpRising Fastlaners programme I'd never have predicted that just a few months later I would be designing and recruiting for the following programme. I heard about Fastlaners in November last year when I was volunteering as Chair of the GM Talent Match Youth Panel. Jenny (Fastlaners Programme Manager) invited me to speak on the panel of their Youth Employability Consultation for Comic Relief, which provided an open and engaging discussion on underemployment between young people and employers. I was excited to speak on behalf of the Youth Panel but I was also interested in taking part in the whole Fastlaners programme. 

I’ve now been a participant and panelist on one programme; designed the sessions for three; and helped to deliver two. Moving from a Fastlaner to UpRising employee shows that UpRising is an organisation that not only ‘talks the talk’ on employing Fastlaners but acts on their message and trains young people to be valuable assets to any organisation.

Every new role has its challenges, no matter how much you think you already know about the company or job role. My experience transitioning from a young person to an employee had its challenges, such as getting to know the staff as colleagues rather than facilitators, but with the support of good management I settled in well. At the end of each week my line manager went through in detail the skills I had shown during the week that I could add to my CV / LinkedIn profile. This was a beneficial approach because it gave a name to the tasks that I was instinctively doing. For example I wasn’t just chatting with a young person about their CV and suggesting ways to improve it, I was ‘providing 1-1 CV reviews’.

Whilst supporting the delivery of the Fastlaners programme, it has been wonderful to be able to share all I have learnt with the new programme participants. Here is a snapshot of some of the advice that I have connected with during my experience with Fastlaners.

“It’s OK to not know what you want to do yet” – This reassuring piece of advice resounds throughout panel discussions with employees from a range of sectors and job roles (and a few programme alumni!) talking about their career journey. Most of the speakers did not find their ideal job straight away and many do not intend to stay in the job forever, rather they were interested in continually developing and trialing new opportunities.

"We need every job" – Gail Armstrong, Siemens volunteer. We need every job from a car washer or a large company CEO to keep society going, and seemingly small jobs can make a big impact to wider societies. I’m always impressed by the large number of Siemens volunteers who give their time for a mock assessment centre, straight to the point advice and constructive feedback. 

“You have a life outside of work” - Emily Allen, from MOL. It is important to have a life outside of work, although not all your personal life is appropriate behaviour for the workplace. Emily shares her wealth of honest advice on how to make a good (and bad!) first impression based on experience from her personal life and career as a HR professional.

This is just a scratches the surface of advice and support I have had on the programme from volunteers with Bruntwood, Siemens, One Manchester, UpRising alumni and more. Overall, my main observation from the programme is the huge number of diverse people and organisations who are willing to lend a helping hand - if you ask. But It can be difficult to know who, when and how to ask so getting involved with programmes like Fastlaners (who put all of these people in one programme) is great.

I’ll end with a some of my own advice - be open to new opportunities, you might be surprised where they come from.


By Cicely Hill