Deloitte 21: Project Grasp My Future in action at Deloitte France to help underserved young students
By Charlotte Jaffre - September 20, 2010
After these wonderful days in London participating in the Deloitte21 workshop this is our turn to introduce the essence of French mentoring. The Grasp My Future mentoring program forms part of Deloitte’s desire to help today’s youth access higher education in favorable conditions. To this end, Deloitte takes part in several educational programs from junior high school through to five years post high school diploma.
The Grasp My Future mentoring program is open to all Deloitte France employees and student mentees volunteer to participate, and are supported by their school and teachers. Two Deloitte employees are matched with one student to mentor for two years. The Deloitte employees provide mentees with:
- A first contact with the corporate world: its method of operating, its culture and its demands, which will enable the mentee to start a professional relationship adapted to the corporate world.
- A fun approach to the corporate world: providing access to information on the activities of companies and contact with employees in a variety of business sectors and illustrating, through immersion, the description of a business or activity sector.
- Skills development and career guidance support: the mentors assist the mentee with the construction of a professional development project whereby the mentee is able determine the best training courses to develop his/her skills. The mentors work with the student to help them decide what classes to take and diploma to pursue, and what company would be interested to hire them after their studies.
The Grasp My Future program operates around two major meetings supplemented by individual mentoring sessions:
- A launch evening: the first meeting of the year, bringing together all mentors and mentees. In 2008 and 2009, this evening was held in November at the Louvre.
- A human resources workshop day at Deloitte’s office: this session brings together mentors and mentees for a series of workshops. Volunteer employees are mobilized to offer numerous workshops to mentees: drafting CVs, practice interviews, access to the E-Learning center to test their level of English, and presentations of Deloitte’ businesses. Since 2008, this day of workshops has been held during the student’s Spring holidays.
Outside of these two major events, the mentors and mentees meet on a more informal basis in line with the mentees needs. Each mentee is at a different stage in the development of his/her professional development project. Needs will therefore differ from one mentee to another and the frequency of meetings will vary depending on the “study point” at which the mentee finds him/herself.
The French mentoring is quite the same as we did in London with the students we met, but with a continuous relationship all along the year.
Mentoring provides the Deloitte volunteers with satisfaction in a number of areas, including:
- Participating in a civic initiative within Deloitte’s corporate social responsibility framework, with the support of Executive Management
- Committing to an association directly at their place of work, rather than having to travel off-site to participate
- Getting involved alongside other Deloitte employees, of all grades and from all departments
- Sharing experience and communicating know-how to the younger generations
Feedback from students is very encouraging and helpful:
“I’m proud of making it to the end. It was difficult, but I learned a lot and developed more efficient working methods… At the beginning of the course two years seems long, but it goes so quickly you don’t see time pass. I’m glad it’s finished, but it’s really a worthwhile experience.”
“This was a powerful human experience, with several important encounters that helped me progress. It was a difficult experience, but it enabled me to see that we can push beyond our limits. After these two years, I feel more mature and stronger. However, the stress is still there with the beginning of the exams…”
We are now planning for the new tutoring session, with new students and mentees, which will officially start at the end of October. At the same time, we are developing a partnership with a suburban college. The kick-off event will be held at the end of September and we are really eager to start this partnership!
We look forward to sharing with you how these initiatives progress!
Charlotte Jaffré is a supervisor in the Deloitte France audit practice and holds a master’s degree from University Paris Dauphine with a specialization in accounting and finance. She is also a Deloitte21 Fellow.