Reach Society
Reach Society

Testimonials: The 12th Careers Conference 2024

The testimonials below were provided by participants in Reach Society’s 12th Careers Conference which attracted roughly 1,000 young people, parents and carers.

Pastor Trevor Adams, Project Manager & Mentor

My memorable moments was hearing from one of my mentees that after interacting with a role model, Ritchie, he felt inspired to go straightaway and make a phone call to an employer. He made the phone call and has secured an interview appointment.

Lukman Agboola, Public Sector & Role Model

Whilst I enjoyed engaging with many young people on the day, my special moment has to be seeing this young boy with his mum, who I spoke to at the event last year, and gave quite a few tips to him in terms of his passion and career path. To my joy, he has maintained his enthusiasm to follow through on what he took away from the last event. He expressed the view that impact of the event was such that he promised to keep coming to the Society’s events until he achieved his career goals. It was so good to see them both, and his determination to achieve his goals at such a young age; he is just preparing for his GCSEs. That situation made my day!

Phillip Betts, RAF Volunteer & RM

I had the pleasure of speaking with a number of highly motivated young people who were eager to take advantage of the range of experiences in the event. Also it was enjoyable catching up with the many volunteer role models. However, a special moment came when I was speaking with a young law undergrad, MR. He approached me not to ask how we could help him, but to signal his wish to help Reach Society. MR had been to a previous event and was so moved by what the Society was doing he was keen to offer his support. He struck me as a future role model, and so I introduced him to the Society’s chairman.

Yvonne Davis, Primary School, Head Teacher Retired

Just to let you know the convention (the 12th Careers Conference) inspired the three young people I brought along. It was a trying day for me as I was unwell and coping with students who were hard work – one has been out of school since last year and is set to take his exams this year; and the eldest one is on exclusion. When I got home and I said to myself, never again! However, they reached out to me a few days later and they were inspired by the event. So a big thank you to the volunteer role model I spoke to who told me that the RAF would be a good stand to go to. I just wanted to report on the good and important work that is being done by the Society for our young people.

Donald Douglas, AoJ UK Trust, Chairman

I met a mother, she was standing on her own at one of the role model tables, and her eyes were wondering around the room, I enquired if she needed any assistance. She said that she was here with her son who does not know what he wants to do, He is a good boy; he has good grades but he just can’t decide on anything. I asked had he spoken to any of the role models. She said that he had and they sent him to the university stands, and to the engineering and entrepreneurs’ stands. Then she pointed to him as he was using the advice to speak with the many exhibitors.

Demani Jules-Carbon, Programme Director, Reach Society

On reflection, for me the best bit will always be the briefing beforehand. Dr Palmer said that some of you were teenagers when this journey started and they are now men! It felt like he was speaking to me! I always get motivated being in the briefing room with my fellow phenomenal black peers, coming together for a common goal which is to inspire the next generation.

In addition, I spoke with a young attendee, Jonathan. He was speaking to a few role models and told us he designs yachts, supercars and he is a UX designer. He appeared to be a really nice guy, hungry for success, but was a bit stuck. I told him to look outwards instead of inwards. Travel, explore different countries and remember his British culture (such as accent and status) which is a key factor for future access.

Ritchie Neil, Role Model & Salesforce Executive

I was speaking to a young man who felt stuck in his career progression. It was clear that he was doing the right thing but wasn’t getting any interviews. We had a conversation about new approaches and potential taking his activities a step further by seizing the moment. Following our conversation, he came back 30 mins later, saying that he had used what we discussed and had booked himself 2 interviews. Lovely example of seizing the moment and the value of a fresh perspective. 

Professor Donald Palmer, Royal Veterinary College

One of my best moments was again chairing the workshop featuring the Amos Bursary students and alumni; as usual a full house of attendees and hearing the feedback about how amazing these alumni are; and folks feeling immensely proud of them.

Giles Speid, Role Model & Public Sector Manager

A young undergraduate curious about the legal field, and initially unsure of his specific interest discover a passion for financial law, a field he had not considered before. Similarly, he was unfamiliar with consumer law, but thanks to my colleagues from the trading standards stand who were at the event, this area of law was outlined to him. On the stand he also met the visiting Chief Executive, which further sparked his enthusiasm and interest. Overall the Chief Executive was so pleased with the Careers Conference that we are now planning to have further events with Reach Society. Yet another special moment was sharing a poseur table with two fellow role models, Glody and Stephen, their sagely advice greatly impacted several young people who spoke to us.

Barry Sylvester, Former Accounts Manager, HSBC

A special moment for me was seeing the passion and enthusiasm on the faces of the attendees of young people whilst talking to them about their future goals and ambitions. It brought into focus the invaluable service that Reach Society’s Careers Conference provides in showcasing what can be achieved by our community via the interactions with professionals who look like them; and by also giving them direct access to employers in many sectors, plus contact with support organisations who can help them in their quest for opportunity and development.

Lee Xavier, Solicitor

I really enjoyed this year’s event. I met some interesting energised young people. I had a nice session with Stephen Akinsanya (a barrister and fellow role model) where we were able to talk to the young people about both sides of our profession (being a solicitor and being a barrister). I believe that it certainly gave them something to think about.

42 London, Lillian Pontes, Country Director

Thank you again for the invitation; it was even more inspiring to have the privilege of participating in the Panel of Experts with such admirable professionals.

African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust, ACLT, Sabrina Jarrett, National Development Manager                            

I wanted to share our gratitude for inviting us and providing a space for us to raise awareness and register donors at the event. Our work greatly benefits from guests hearing about what we do and why, so they can make an informed decision. We accepted your invitation because we are aware of how much you would like to support the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust, ACLT, and those living with sickle cell disorder. At the conference, we registered 8 potential stem cell donors, and 4 blood donors. On behalf of Team ACLT, and the patients we represent all around the world ‘thank you’ for having us there and providing us with the space to raise awareness and sign-up guests to the registers.

Chartered Trading Standards Institute, John Herriman MBA, CEO

The Reach Society careers event was just brilliant.  It provided a great opportunity for young people to think about their futures, with employers from a broad range of sectors keen to showcase their organisations so they can attract the talent they need.  I met a lot of young people with so much enthusiasm and ambition, all looking forward to the next big step in their lives, and the Reach Society created an environment in which they can do that with confidence.

Chartered Trading Standards Institute, Karen Tillett, FCTSI and R&EG Chair

We were first time exhibitors and were so impressed by this well-organised Careers Conference. The Trading Standards profession desperately needs to attract young people from a range of backgrounds and this event enabled us to engage with our target audience. The conference was very well attended, and we spoke to many intelligent and enthusiastic young people who had a genuine interest in the profession.

Deloitte LLP, Tom Spellins, Assistant Director

It was a pleasure to attend this week’s Careers Conference, and it was great to see you both (Donald and Dwain) as always, thank you for the very kind letter. We also very much look forward to the annual Awards Dinner in October, which is already in the calendar for our team!

E 100 Club, Jennifer Dyer, Founder & Director

I just cannot thank yourselves and your team enough for hosting an incredible event. The attendees were a wonderful eclectic mix of educational providers, mentors, coaches, great confident young men and women with aspirations and vision. Just as Ellie stated truly an inspirational event. The E100 Club had an exceptional response, we intend on granting access to those that signed up for the service for 30 days for ‘FREE’ and continue to offer precious support, advice and guidance. It was also an honour to sit amongst an esteem set of successful individuals who shared the most amazing advice during the Panel discussion.

Howden Group Aisling Lavagna, Early Careers Business Partner

It was great meeting you and a pleasure to attend the event on Tuesday, 2 April.

London Black Educators Network, Beverley Hillman, Vice Chair

Once again, well done to you, your team and everyone (at Reach Society’s 12th Careers event) for a very successful day; and for an excellent level of attendance. LBEN were very pleased to participate in this event and we had a positive response from the visitors to our stand.

RAFFA, Angela Clarke BEM, CEO

The Careers Conference was a huge success and the young people gained a wealth of knowledge and information that will enhance their lives and shape their futures, if used correctly. The date for the annual Awards Dinner is in my diary.

Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, Taps Mtutu, Head of Partnerships

Thank you very much for having us, it was a pleasure to be there, and we are always happy to support in the future.

Windrush Foundation, Arthur Torrington, Director

It was indeed a great pleasure for Windrush Foundation to have contributed to Reach Society’s 12th Careers Conference, on 2 April. We met many interesting young people and their parents; and we shared Windrush Education Resources with them. It was a truly inspirational event.

Dr Dwain Neil OBE Chairman (April 2024)

    Reach Society