MVF’s Second LEEP & LEARN Programme

Since early 2020 our LEEP (Lived Experiences of Ethnic People) network has been building MVF’s partnership with School21.

In March 2020, Covid-19 hit and unfortunately put a hold on some of our plans, but on the 4 August 2020 we launched our very first purely remote LEEP & LEARN programme! You can find out more about our 2020 programme here.

As sixth form students returned to school in early 2021 we adapted our LEEP & LEARN programme in partnership with School21, utilising set times they have for real world projects on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. The programme ran from April to July with MVFers delivering all sessions, activities and mentoring calls remotely.

From feedback received in 2020, we included some additional elements to the programme this year. We facilitated a group mentoring introductory session with an icebreaker game to introduce students to MVF mentors in a consistent and fun way. At the end of the programme we also facilitated CV Success and Awesome Interview workshops, aimed at helping the students talk about the programme, their achievements and responsibilities.

We were so lucky to work with 13 amazing students this year, split across four groups, who all delivered exceptionally high quality final presentations to our panel of MVF judges.

What we learnt

  • We can successfully deliver the programme either fully remote or with students in person and MVFers joining remotely – bring on next years programme when hopefully we can meet in person (fingers crossed)
  • Having a key point of contact at the school that helped to coordinate activities and the students in the classroom was amazing
  • Particularly at the moment, having a plan but being flexible to work around the students and school activities is really important – we adapted our schedule a couple of times due to exam timing uncertainty and Eid celebrations
  • Committed MVF mentors are key to the success of the project work, they act as a safe space to ask questions share ideas and practice their presentations before the final presentation
  • From the first programme in 2020 we learnt not to underestimate the students – they have so many strengths and talents – one group this year made an amazing tik tok style video for their coffee subscription service using whiteboards at school – another sent the marketing email they had designed directly to our judges during their final presentation
  • Some of the students already had quite clear career plans in terms of going into medicine or other professions – digital marketing isn’t for everyone but we’ve broadened their knowledge and helped them develop key transferable skills for the future.

What the students said they enjoyed most…

‘Learning about how marketing really occurs and how complex it actually is.’

‘Making new friends and learning loads of new things’

‘Learning more about the financial side of business.’

‘Building a relationship with all the group that participated in the project, getting to try new things and learn from different experiences and overall learn how to use skills effectively.’

‘Preparing the project and presentation – particularly designing the logo and email etc.’

What our MVF mentors said they enjoyed most…

‘Helping the students formulate and grow their ideas.’

‘Hearing the students’ plans/aspirations for the future after secondary school and being able to relate my own experience of making decisions around university and courses.’

What’s next?

We’re reviewing feedback at the moment on what’s working well and where we might need to improve for next time. Many of the students and MVFers highlighted that it would have been nicer to have met in person and we can’t wait to invite students and future cohorts into our amazing offices at Wenlock Works and also visit them in school to deliver sessions.

Internships are something we’re keen to develop and with Covid restrictions easing we’re hoping that in the future we’ll be able to offer students periods of real world experience with us.

Part of LEEP’s mission is to guide and educate young people, who are also LEEPers, to increase the quality of prospective ‘active’ LEEP candidates for emerging roles at MVF. We also have the goal of increasing LEEP apprentices by 30% by 2025. Being able to offer this programme for a second time to such highly engaged students, all with great personalities and different skills, was a privilege and a clear demonstration of our LEEP Network’s mission.

If you want to find out more or talk about a programme you’re looking to run then please get in touch with [email protected].