Meet Tegan Kruger - As the Community Engagement leader in our London office, Tegan is a champion for our Team London partnership since its launch in September and is here to share the progress we have made in the last three months.
The Zendesk London office partnership with Team London’s Headstart programme has seen a lot of activity recently. We hosted our first external workshop and had our first work experience candidate in the office for a week. It’s been a very exciting time for us and I wanted to share our experiences so far.
For those that are not familiar with the Headstart programme, they seek to address the challenges of youth unemployment and social segregation. The programme offers diverse groups of 16-18 year olds the opportunity to develop employability skills through volunteering and professional workshops, and then rewards their social action with interviews for entry-level paid work with partner businesses
Zendesk’s first workshop for Headstart took place at City Hall in August. Trish Patel from the Support Team and Ben Austin from Sales Training took a captive audience of over 30 HeadStart Candidates through life at Zendesk, what the office is like, how we’re structured as a business and what we do for our customers.
After the workshop finished, young people had a few days to decide if they would like to apply for work experience at Zendesk. We were overwhelmed and excited to receive over 20 impressive applications, which made it very difficult for us to choose 8 young people to come into the Zendesk offices and interview for work a role with the PR team.
Out of the shortlist of candidates, we chose Phoeby Narenthiran to join us for the last week in October. She worked with Andy Sommer in the PR team and was a breath of fresh air in terms of her approach and enthusiasm. I asked Phoeby how she found working at Zendesk, and she told me, “The team works really hard and are very focused but have fun. I’ve really enjoyed my week.”
Not only have we taken part in our first workshop and had our first young person in the office, we also took part in 2 big Team London Volunteering days. The first event was in August, where six of our staff members joined Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, to help with the Wide Horizons pond restoration project to clear an overgrown area to produce pathways and make open spaces which are now being used to deliver Adventure Learning to local schools.
On 22nd October, seven of the London office team took part in the UK’s largest youth speed networking event for careers advise, attempting to break a Guinness World Record. It was a great day and not only did we give out as much career advice as we could, some of us even undertook two sessions. We all saw how dedicated and focused a lot of the young people were to take on as much advice as they could. It was very inspiring.
We are currently planning the first Zendesk workshop for young people in our brand new event space in January 2016 and aim to have our second workshop in July. We hope to have even more interest and applications next year with the view to taking on 19 additional young people for work experience in our office through the school holidays. The Zendesk London team will also be aiming to hit 1000 hours of volunteering in our local community as part of our community benefits agreement. Team London has introduced us to some local charities that we are hoping to set up some volunteer opportunities as we move into 2016. It’s going to be a big year for our London Office and we’re all looking forward to it.