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15 August 2018

On Friday 10th August, members of our employability programme, Talent Match Croydon, and London Youth’s Chief Executive, Rosemary Watt-Wyness, took 15 participants aged 18-24 on a work experience day with Tideway.

The day was organised to give young people on our Talent Match Programme an insight into one of the largest construction and engineering projects currently underway in London.

Our day started with a lovely boat ride along the Thames, where Tideway employees gave us a talk about the history of sites on the Thames and their significance in the story of Tideway’s current project to upgrade the sewerage system for modern London.

We visited a number of Tideway’s construction sites along the river, learning more about what each one was for, and this gave us a real insight into the magnitude of the project.

This section of the day was eye-opening for both young people and the staff supporting them, and really gave us a full outline of how many construction workers and engineers it is going to take to successfully deliver this project!

“Tideway is running the absolutely huge construction project that is adding to the sewerage system in London. It sounds comic (and there were plenty of jokes!) but it’s actually a massive and complex engineering endeavour. And we got to see the key work points from a Thames Clipper!” – Rosemary Watt-Wyness, Chief Executive of London Youth

After our boat trip, we were taken back to Tideway’s headquarters at London Bridge for lunch and an afternoon of presentations from Tideway staff who work behind the scenes, rather than on the construction sites.

In the afternoon we sat down to an afternoon of presentations and Q&As from staff working in Graphic Design, Technology, Human Resources and Branding and Marketing. These members of staff gave us an insight into their roles, what they do day-to-day and a look into their career history and how they got to where they are now. These presentations gave us a look into different roles within the organisation, and as one of the young participants stated “I never knew how much went into an organisation like this, there’s so much more behind the scenes than I ever thought.”

There was also a particularly exciting look into the Tunnel Works programme with an amazing app that showed us how the tunnelling project worked. The App was really engaging and a number of young people took their Tunnel Map home to show their friends and family and demonstrate how it worked.

Tideway’s Head of Development and Inclusivity Marcia Williams gave an engaging and powerful speech regarding personal development, career choices and the importance of our skills and individuality. Something that resonated with so many of us was when Marcia said that “everyone has 3 or 4 careers within them, you have to adapt if you don’t find your ideal role first time round. Immerse yourself and play the long game to find the right role for you.” Marcia showed us that nobody is ever perfect for a job role, and no role is perfect for a person, we just have to find what makes us happy and feel fulfilled and continue to learn and develop with every role we do.

Finally, Tideway’s Human Resources Manager Elaine Lambert gave our young people a CV and Interview Skills workshop. This presentation gave amazing practical advice to our young people regarding their next applications and interviews in whichever sector they go into, and her presentation was so helpful our young people were event taking photos of her slides to take home with them! As one participant stated, “the advice on interview skills was very useful and this is something I will definitely use in future.”

The day achieved so much, raising young people’s aspirations, giving invaluable insight into a huge company and giving an overview of everything that goes into such an enormous and vital engineering project. As Rosemary said, “Of course, what it also brought home is that any undertaking that big also has loads of opportunities associated with it – for example in HR, in communications, in education, in catering, and in outreach as well as construction and engineering. It was really great to see young people from Talent Match Croydon being linked in to the opportunities with the company. Hopefully, it’s a partnership that can grow.”

Special thanks go to Basil Nkomo from Tideway for organising the whole day alongside us and to his colleagues at Tideway for hosting us and providing our young people with such an incredible opportunity!

This blog was written by Lauren Metalle, Career Support Coach at London Youth.

You can find out more about our employability work here.

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