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The team at FCDO Services strive to open our doors in every way we can – to give potential applicants an insight into what it’s like to work here, and to make sure that that people of all backgrounds have equal opportunity to learn more about us.

That’s why we work hard in creating opportunities for students to learn more about our apprenticeships. We want to ensure that, whatever their background, potential applicants around the country have the chance to join us and discover their future.

With that in mind, we’re proud to partner the Sutton Trust in their Pathways to Engineering project, and to support the students involved. The Sutton Trust are champions of social mobility – aiming to support and empower students from low socio-economic backgrounds – and this event would help us reach out with them, to show potential applicants that FCDO Services is a place where everyone can thrive.

“We have a lot of experience in a field that others are less exposed to, so we can give a fresh set of options for students. It means they’re more informed and have a better understanding of options in front of them.”

For our apprentices, another key goal was shedding as much light on our organisation as possible. After all, it’s not always an obvious connection to make, to know that government work can include engineering opportunities like ours. As one of our apprentices says, “I think working in central government and public sector work, particularly for young people, can seem out of reach. We want to demystify that.”

But what exactly is speed networking? Well, in our new world of virtual recruitment opportunities, it meant that our current apprentices would have one-on-one online sessions with student participants, to talk them through what we do and share their own experiences. There would be just one catch: to help everyone meet as many people as possible, each session would last exactly 15 minutes.

With that in mind, the students would need to be quick with their questions, and the apprentices fast on their feet with the answers, to make the most of the session. Like one of our apprentices says: “It encouraged you to consider questions and answer them quickly, getting straight to the point. It was fast-paced, trying not to get cut off mid-sentence and to make sure the students were happy with the information they got.” 

The format meant the students needed to plan in advance and be incisive, to get to the heart of what they wanted to know. They certainly rose to that challenge: in the space of incredibly short sessions, conversation ranged from the content of our degree programmes, to experiences of working overseas, to what it means to be a Chartered Engineer. And naturally, our apprentices were glad to support however they could: “The students asked some great questions, similar to the questions and queries I had when I was in their position, and I was happy to help.”

Even better, we’re thrilled to say that the students found it helpful too, enabling them to discover potential paths to Engineering. The event coordinators found that after the speed networking session:

And what about our current apprentices? Well, there’s no doubt in their minds that reaching out is well worth it, both for us and for the students involved:

“I’d definitely do this again. It can only be positive to attract people from all backgrounds and groups, and help promote the role of FCDO Services and the work we do.”

I think it’s vital for companies to reach out to students who may want to join the field. It’s important to help give people the information that schools may not be able to provide them with. So 100% yes, it’s important for us to be involved.” 

Frankly, we couldn’t agree more – and we’re excited to tell you more about the work we’re doing throughout this year, to promote our apprenticeships and to open our doors to more people than ever. To find out for yourself about our apprenticeship opportunities, visit our Apprenticeships page, or you can find out more about all the outreach work we do on our Diversity & Inclusion page.