It’s that time again when kids go back to school for the start of new year. And for one charity professional in particular - Julia Alberga of ORT’s JUMP project – her work is just beginning…..
Tell us about the ORT Jump Project. How does it fit into what ORT does overall?
The JUMP project matches Year 12 students in Jewish schools with mentor professionals, who are already established in a career that they are interested in. The student meets their mentor once every six weeks, in his or her place of work, for a 1-hour meeting. There is an agenda set for each meeting such as, a workplace tour, how to write a CV and joining a real meeting. These meetings give the student an insight into the industry they are interested in and guidance as to how to achieve their goals.
World ORT has been supporting educational projects aimed at helping people into work for over 130 years and works in diverse communities around the world building knowledge and training to ensure that they have the skills to find work and therefore not be financially dependent on others. So, the JUMP project was an ideal programme for ORT to support within the UK .
How did you initially get involved with the ORT JUMP Project? What is your role?
I worked as a buyer for Marks and Spencer for 15 years and always had a keen interest in Corporate Social Responsibility. After 3 children, I left M&S and took a job at Jewish Women’s Aid, educating Jewish students on domestic abuse in the community. I left JWA 2 years ago and with my experience in business, CSR and education, decided to start JUMP. I have now run and completed 2 years and have had over 150 students complete the programme. The schools have been extremely supportive and are keen to promote JUMP to the students.
How do volunteers work in the ORT Jump Project. Why is it such an important role?
All our mentors are volunteers and are people who have demonstrated a certain level of responsibility within an organisation or have successfully applied their entrepreneurial skills to the setting up of their own company.
Mentors are appointed from both the public and private sectors and are given a full briefing and support in fulfilling their important role. Students research their mentor’s industry, take meeting notes and complete a file to be presented at the end of the programme. Without volunteers there really is no JUMP!
What are the benefits for the volunteer mentor?
Mentors can improve their personal skills in coaching and managing people and, from our experience, we’ve found that JUMP programme can be part of their company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative. But, most importantly, mentors will be using their work skills to guide and benefit the next generation of Jews in the workplace, which brings a huge sense of satisfaction and wellbeing.
How has JVN helped you work with volunteers?
Last year, JUMP was promoted on the JVN website and I received 40 new volunteers in varying industries. As numbers of students on the programme are continually growing, I need to find as many new volunteers as possible!