My Experience of the Ark Employer Pathway

My Experience of the Ark Employer Pathway

Read about Mari's experience on one of our recent Employer Pathway programmes with Ark Teacher Training.

Posted by Maahwish Mirza on 4 October 2016

I am about to enter my second year studying a Ba in Geography at UCL. I am a Team Up Tutor and a Project Officer for the UCL Team Up Committee.

Earlier this summer, I spent an insightful week with an organisation at the forefront of alleviating social and educational disparity; Ark Teacher Training. Ark trains its own teachers, and has set up academies in some of the most deprived areas in Britain, swiftly enhancing the performance and results of schools. Ark’s relationship with Team Up lies not only in the Employer Pathway which it has offered to Team Up tutors this past year, but also in the values that they share. Both have dedicated themselves to improving the educational quality offered to children in more disadvantaged areas; both offer excellent support and resources to their teaching/tutoring staff; and both have displayed to me a level of enthusiasm and emotional investment in their members which I have rarely seen.

The purpose of Team Up’s Employer pathways (of which Ark was only one of several) has been to give Team Up members an experience of how the respective partner organisation runs; gain invaluable transferrable skills (such as teamwork); and understand how to give yourself the best chance of success when applying for jobs. Team Up’s corporate partnerships are thus quite the “carrot” for a student, given the current competitive job market and daunting graduate prospects! To these ends, my experience with Ark most certainly delivered.

In preparation for the Ark Employer Pathway week, I spent a couple of days in March observing and assisting teachers in Ark Globe Academy, and getting a better understanding of the integral role which Ark plays in helping students achieve their academic success. Highlights included talking to two incredibly erudite and precocious year 12 school ambassadors; and seeing a Geography teacher getting a bunch of restless Year 4 students to imitate disgruntled rural yokels discussing the social impacts of costal erosion.

This set me in good stead for the Employer Pathway week itself, which ran in July. In the introductory period, we shared sessions with members of the Lloyd’s TSB Employer Pathway. All was kick-started with a heartfelt, motivational speech by Team Up’s CEO, Sharla; and how the tutoring help she received in her efforts towards academic excellence inspired the foundation of Team Up. This was followed up by instructive sessions by Team Up’s Partnerships Manager, Nick. These comprised of CV writing skills; how to be confident in an interview; and self-presentation. Later in the week, Nick also organised a fundraiser competition as a fun breather from the more rigorous content of the week, in which we teamed up in groups and formulated detailed theoretical plans of how we could raise money for Team Up!

The rest of the week was spent in Ark Globe Academy itself, in which we were engaging with extract units which Ark teacher trainees undertake during their training; as well as sessions on how to make a successful application to Ark teacher training. This helped us to refine key skills, such as presentation and economy of language, which are not only hugely translatable to a plethora of other careers, but will also really embellish my ability to engage and interest my own students when I tutor for Team Up. At the end of the week, we presented our previously devised fundraising plan to a “Dragon’s Den” panel of Ark outreach staff. Despite the fact that my team tragically lost, the week ended on a high as celebratory Cadbury chocolates were shared around all the teams!

For any tutor who is considering applying for an opportunity with employers with Team Up this upcoming academic year; or for anyone assessing the benefits of joining Team Up, it is very worth looking in detail at the opportunities which Team Up offers in terms of personal and employability skills. The week with Ark was so well planned, incredibly informative, and we were encouraged to give back feedback every step of the way. This, alongside the fact that Team Up’s relationships with employers are ever-evolving and improving, will mean that their opportunities will become even more tightly suited to participants’ interests. I not only developed a lot of employable skills, but I also met so many like-minded, enthusiastic people and I will definitely take some of the teaching methods which I learned into my own Team Up tutoring lessons.