In your first week
Your first day will begin with two sessions: Induction and Getting comfortable online. There will be regular breaks throughout with plenty of activities in this and all of your subsequent sessions.
During induction we’ll do a couple of things:
- Introduce our core team
- Introduce the programme and its core objectives
- Talk through how the month will be structured
- Set-out what you can expect from us and – in turn – what we expect from you
- Sort through any outstanding technological issues
The next session – getting comfortable online – will happen after lunch. The focus of this session is to share some of the things we’ve learnt about what it takes to be an effective participant on one of our programmes over the past twelve months. In larger group sessions about a third of all our participants keep their cameras on, and the rest prefer to keep them off; however, during breakout sessions and especially when we’re in much smaller groups of 5 – 6, many participants turn their cameras on.
For example, in the past year, we’ve had participants join who haven’t been comfortable showing their faces but have been really active in session chats, and who happily speak up in sessions. We’ve also had a few participants who have preferred not to speak up much at all, but have been really active in the chat. All of these differences speak to the range of young people who join our programmes. As a result, we use this session to set some ground rules certainly, but also to share the fact that what is most important to us is that you feel comfortable in sessions.
Both of these sessions will be recorded and made available online afterwards. We do this for a number of reasons: 1) we know that lots of previous participants have welcomed the chance to go back and review things subsequently, and 2) some participants aren’t always able to join every session at the time it’s happening – they may have caring commitments or part-time work that means that’s just not possible. As a result, you can view sessions afterwards for the whole month you’re on the programme.
Participants are also active in our online community (provided via Slack). In the chatrooms, we’ll post questions for you to think about in advance of sessions and afterwards, as well as sharing administrative details for the course. The Slack channels are also the place to get answers to all sorts of questions, where we post opportunities that come up throughout the month, and to get to know fellow course participants.
We firmly believe that the key to success in your job hunt is to treat the search like a job itself. As such, the programme is carefully structured and begins each morning with a 30 minute “check-in.” That’s a chance for you to start to build up your network among your peers on the programme – they’ll be a key source of support and encouragement throughout. These sessions happen in breakout rooms using structured activities, and will often be supported by programme volunteers, many of whom have been participants on our programme itself over the past 12 months.
Day 2 then kicks off with one of the sessions that’s been among the most popular with participants – Personal Branding. The session will focus on “how you show up” – both in person and online – during your job hunt; how you present and promote yourself, appropriate presentation skills, communication styles and body language to articulate yourself effectively, as well as helping you understand the importance (and dangers) of your online profile to your job hunt.
Throughout the remainder of the day, you’ll also meet your “home group” for the first time. Your Home Group is led by a qualified coach and is a place where – as long as you’re comfortable doing so – you can share a bit more about your current situation, aspirations and goals, and unpack how your job search is going.
In each of these sessions you’ll do a range of activities on your own and in groups, as well as being set some suggested tasks to complete. We know that those who get the most from Stand Out are often able to complete the majority of these tasks (they’re usually things like “Update your CV in the light of what you’ve learned today”). However it’s important to say that we appreciate everyone’s situation is different, and it may not always be possible to do so.
Day 3 will begin with your check-in before we turn to another key skill – crafting a stand out CV. The job market for young people right now is very competitive, and as a result we’ve put together a session focused on how you develop your own CV to really shine. What are the “must haves,” and the “must dos”? What’s irrelevant? How can you get the CV readers’ attention when they’re taking less than 60 seconds to evaluate each CV? The session is packed with tricks and insider tips – drawn from a wide range of resources including from experts among our corporate partners, many of whom are recruiting hundreds of people a year.
After the session, we’ll ask you to apply what you’ve learnt and our Slack channel is often buzzing with questions, shared tips and expertise, and good examples.
On Day 4 we’ll host the first of our Careers Panels, which will focus on “understanding the job market.” We know that it can seem really daunting just knowing where to even start on your job search and this session will help give you a range of different views from people who’ve built a successful career and who have had similar experiences to yours. We’ll also use these sessions to explore regional differences in the job market, as well as different sectors. In each of the main regions where we work – Bedford, Birmingham, London and Manchester – we’ve identified top sectors and employers, as well as the fastest growing companies nationwide. We’ll share this information, as well as helping and supporting you to undertake your own research into jobs, sectors and places in which you already have an interest.
In addition, on Day 4 we’ll set aside some “drop in” time when our staff will be available (both in Slack and on Zoom) and during which you can work on your CV and covering letter. These sessions are chilled – we often play some music in the background – and are a chance for private work but with the knowledge that if you get stuck, someone is on hand to answer your question there and then.
We can guarantee that the first week will fly by, and the Friday check-in is therefore a time to take stock of what you’ve learnt, to reflect on how the week’s gone and to set yourself some goals for the next week. On Fridays you’ll also have coaching sessions. These will be in small groups and are very much designed to help you identify and overcome blockers that may be standing in the way of you making the most of Stand Out (and therefore your job hunt!).
Weeks 2, 3 and 4
Subsequent weeks will have a similar shape and feel to them – a daily morning check-in, content sessions focus on specific themes that build up throughout the programme, the chance to interact with employers of all shapes and sizes, the chance to spend some time and learn from others on the programme, coaching sessions and regular drop-in work sessions.
Sessions will focus on project management, on using and leveraging online communities such as LinkedIn to best effect, acing interviews and assessment centres, developing and sharpening your networking skills. We’ll also give you plenty of interview experience through mock interviews and introduce you to jobs in the green sector, finance and professional services and arts, SME, media and charity sectors. During this time, you’ll again have plenty of time to catch-up on sessions you’ve missed, as well as to ask questions online in Slack, discuss queries and challenges with staff and will meet each week with your qualified coach in small groups.
In Week 4 you’ll then have a chance to meet your mentor. Provided through One Million Mentors (1MM), your mentor will be with you for up to 12 months after the curriculum comes to an end. You’ll meet virtually (or in real-life if you can/want to) once a month for an hour and have a chance to continue to work on everything you’ve learnt – and much more – during the Stand Out curriculum.
Finally, on the last day of the curriculum, we’ll welcome you to your Stand Out graduation. This is a chance for us to celebrate everything you’ve individually and collectively achieved over the month of the programme and we’ll invite along an interesting guest speaker. Previous speakers have included Obama Fellow and CEO Zarlasht Halaimzai and TV Maths Expert Bobby Seagull.
Immediately after the curriculum
Once you’ve finished the curriculum, you immediately become an UpRising alumni and we’ll share with you our regular programme of alumni talks which happen every other month. You’ll continue to have access to the Slack channel for three months afterwards, and we’ll continue to send you information about opportunities, as well as reminding you of some of the things you’ve learnt on the programme.
Immediately after the programme has finished, we’ll also ask you to complete a short questionnaire which helps us understand how effective the programme has been. We’ll also check-in with you 3 months and 12 months later, just to find out how you’re getting on and whether there’s anything else we can do to support you.