Capital One helps us say thanks to our volunteers

The Mix Staff
Jack Welch

Last month we took nine of our young volunteers to Nottingham to meet one of our key supporters – Capital One. The aim of day was to thank our fantastic volunteers by giving them a glimpse behind the scenes of a major company’s recruitment practices. They also got to meet some of the graduate workers, and talk to them about their route to employment and experiences. Always keen to get insight into young people’s behaviour online, we took the opportunity to ask our volunteers about their social media sharing habits for an upcoming project as well.

I’m handing over to attendee Jack Welsh to talk about his experience of the day:

“Getting to know Capital One…

From most public perceptions of visiting any company headquarters, that have any relationship with finance, there are some typical images that could be conjured up – stuffy, overly formal, grey offices etc. For me, this was admittedly what I feared in visiting the base of Capital One UK in Nottingham. I could only recall vaguely some of the advertising they had some years ago, and it had never occurred to me in reconsidering that point of view before entering their very conspicuous building just outside Nottingham train station.

This was gradually altered from entering their reception, as we were greeted by their welcoming, Head of Communities, Stuart Mather.  Twice voted top in consecutive years as the ‘Best Large Employer’ in the ‘Best Workplace’ Awards, the offices have many exciting features, including an open plan office space, gym and creatively tailored meeting rooms. It’s not surprising to hear that graduate opportunities and entry level jobs here are highly sought after, and attract the best from Nottingham’s universities and beyond.

Joined by a selection of Capital One’s graduate workers, who only joined last year, a number already have guaranteed positions and with opportunity to move into full-time posts, without the fear of being left in limbo after the end of their programme. Some discussed their own struggle to find any kind of work after leaving university and that doing unpaid activities in the meantime, such as blogging, could boost chances of filling a vacancy, with that experience. That seems to fit nicely with volunteering at YouthNet!

More importantly, it was better to be undeterred when applying for a position, even when it may seem that the criteria is beyond your own level of experience. The graduates in positions like accounting, marketing and IT, give hope that you can find a suitable role with the right amount of perseverance. Interviews should also give a good indication of the culture of the company and that’s where Capital One triumphs over others which are less inviting.

To share or not to share?

The second part of our day was to help YouthNet with some insight into the sharing habits and behaviours of young people.

We started by looking at some of YouthNet’s own research about stories/issues which are not being spoken about, and that may shape their future campaigns. These indicated the differences in how open we may be in sharing sensitive stories online after recovery. Quite a large majority of the group seemed to be open to the idea of getting those across in one form or another.

We then moved onto shaping some of the ideas into campaigns, which looked into advocating groups of young people whose voices may not be heard widely enough, like those with mental health issues or learning disabilities. This gave an indication of the specific problems young people face in communities, and which companies, like Capital One, can help by providing financial backing for this type of campaign.

Changed perceptions:

The day itself was full of surprises – nice ones that is. A valuable insight into a good case study of treating employees well in any work environment, and proving that finance or business does not need to be dull.”


Published on 29-Jun-2015