Celebrating two years of partnership with the Ark Globe Academy
Since 2017 we have supported the Ark Globe Academy in Southwark with Enrichment weeks –immersion opportunities that take place over the course of a few days where year 10 and 11 students to get a sense of the world of work, acquire non-classroom skills and get a sense of possible career paths.
The partnership dates back to our move to Southwark. We undertook it for two key reasons; firstly, to contribute to the local community, something that has always been important to our founders and all our staff of the agency. Secondly, to improve grass roots awareness of the opportunities that careers in PR and marketing might offer amongst a community that doesn’t typically pursue this path.
Meet the Ark Globe Academy
The Ark Globe Academy was built up from what was the Geoffrey Chaucer Technology College and the Joseph Lancaster primary school. Housing nearly 1,300 students from the ages of 3-18 at its site on Harper Road in SE1, its mission is to prepare its students to be future leaders in the community. The school has been transformed by Principal Matt Jones who joined in 2012. The school’s values of relationships, integrity and independence chime very closely with our own and it’s been a delight to welcome them into our offices. Many of our staff feel very passionately about the notion of social justice that sits at the heart of the school’s purpose.
What we have been doing
The Enrichment weeks share a common theme; opening the eyes of the students to a new and unfamiliar context. It has a beneficial side effect of doing the same for our staff who host sessions explaining the what PR and marketing agencies do and workshopping simulated client challenges with the students.
We also conduct leadership exercises with the students, in which they are asked to assess the qualities of a good leader and are then given a teamworking task that puts the insights they’ve learned to the test. (No spoilers on the details here for upcoming year 10s – you have to wait for the day!)
Our staff have also supported the students with guidance on CV writing and business interview technique, and on managing a suitable social media profile to support with job hunting. The highlights of the day usually occur in small group discussions on what our different job function teams do in the business, be that HR or finance, marketing or IT, as well as the client-facing PR, digital and creative teams. We’re always amazed at the fascinating and occasionally bizarre questions we get from the students from ‘how much money do you make’ to ‘what phones do you give your staff’ to what kind of people we were looking for and what we actually do for our clients.
More to come
Our work with the Ark Globe Academy has spread new wings – last year we had sixth formers spend the summer with us on rotation for work experience, and this year we are working on a creative project to support the school’s 10th anniversary, as well as preparing for the next batch of sixth form work experience. More on the 10th anniversary story to follow as it comes to life, but we can say that it will make quite a splash!.
We have gained a great deal from the experience thus far. Not only does it seem to be useful for the students, but it’s a wonderful way for many of our staff to volunteer the time and insight to an organisation with such a worthy cause at its heart. Crucially, it’s also been eye-opening for us; in terms of the interests of these young people; how and what media they consume; the social platforms that they talk about; and the questions that they ask. We’re thrilled that a number of them plan to apply for our annual JAE scheme in due course and look forward to welcoming them to that process.
Here’s to the ongoing success of the ARK Globe Academy and our partnership – if you’re interested in more about the school, check out its website for more info.