Stories of our impact

Bright young things

Milton Keynes Academy (MKA) is in an area of economic deprivation, where more than half of students are eligible for free school meals, and life expectancy is ten years lower than in the more affluent areas of the city. Fractured families, limited life goals and low self-esteem are some of the issues facing the local community. We wanted to make a difference.

Ready for life after school

Dawn Howard from Deloitte and Debbie Gockelen from MKA have worked together over the past six years to build a programme of mentoring and employability training, offering students the chance to develop valuable commercial skills alongside their academic studies.

Volunteers from across Deloitte’s Milton Keynes office have supported nearly 200 students to date, helping them get ready for life after school, be that in higher education or full-time employment. Mentoring prepares students for a range of different activities, from CV writing and university applications, to assessment days and job interviews.

The focus of our mentoring has always been to make a positive impact on MKA and its students, but the impact that those students have had on our volunteers too can’t be overstated. In Dawn’s words: “Seeing the students respond to the support on offer and the difference we can make to their outlook on life is incredibly rewarding.”

Winning a nationwide competition

One of the highlights in 2017 was supporting the academy’s entries into the Deloitte TMT Predictions Schools Challenge – an initiative created to encourage young people to pursue careers in the technology, media or telecommunications (TMT) sectors. It’s a UK-wide competition that invites teams to develop a technology-based solution to three challenges using themes from Deloitte’s annual TMT Predictions report. This year, MKA students were crowned winners for the first time, with their innovative ‘BioBuddy’ wristband, designed to aid people with mental health issues. The students were praised for their entrepreneurial nous and enterprising approach by a Silicon Valley-based start-up currently working on the technology.

The transformation of those who took part has been remarkable. Previously shy and with low career aspirations, the students emerged as confident young individuals capable of delivering their final presentation in a packed London auditorium and handling challenging questions from the panel of judges. The scheme has opened their eyes to the opportunities that professional life holds for them, and we’re proud to see two of the participants from last year’s competition joining Deloitte as apprentices within our Shared Services Organisation.

Debbie Gockelen from MKA said: “Working with Deloitte has, without doubt, changed the future for many of our students; they’ve been introduced to a much wider world and have been given the confidence and resilience to aim for the top. We cannot thank the mentors enough for their enthusiasm, care and commitment.”