Eagles is a bespoke graduate development scheme designed to promote diversity, inclusion and fairness in graduate recruitment. Established in 2005, the central aim of Eagles was to identify and develop exceptional and often overlooked talent, and to connect them with employment opportunities in top London firms.
Over the years we have delivered programmes in a number of different sectors but our inaugural programme, CSR Eagles, is especially important to us. We created it because we wondered about the positive impact of having someone employed in those CSR teams from the many rich and diverse communities that their programmes target. We wanted to see if our Eagles would thrive in these CSR departments, becoming more than just the evidence of social mobility, but agents of it, driving social mobility in their own right in the future.
Recent research among our alumni shows that over 50 Eagles have chosen to continue their career in the CSR arena, many moving into managerial positions themselves.
Fifteen years on, and we have invited some of those CSR Eagle alumni to share their insights and experiences of their own employment opportunities – Eagles who have gone on to thrive in organisations such as Unicef UK, Linklaters, MUFG, and Slaughter & May. Thank you to Rubina Begum (2012 programme) Zinab Aldaraji (2014 programme), Ikramul Choudhury (2015 programme), and Kim Nguyen (2018 programme).
We asked them two questions: 1) do you feel you positively influenced the agendas of the community affairs departments you worked in? and: 2) what is your advice for the Eagles due to start their own graduate development programmes in March 2021?
Q: Do you feel you positively influenced the agendas of the community affairs departments you worked in?
“The impact of the work I have been doing is clear across senior partners and associates, who are all talking up our social mobility and diversity programmes. Because of this programme I am already seeing culture change across the organisation. I am very proud of that.”
“I had a great manager and we just said: let’s change things. We were more innovative as a duo, and when we started we went in and had big wins within six months. We were known for making things happen.”
“I love being a positive advocate. I have been approached to share my story on various platforms and have been selected to be on a newly established ICRS committee to provide a network for new and aspiring CSR professionals. I want to ensure that the work of the committee promotes diversity and access in much the same way the Eagles programme does.”
“Lived experience really does help shape social mobility and diversity programmes. A lot of my strengths have come from a combination of life experiences which make me a lot more relatable to new students than anyone else at the firm.”
Q: What is your advice for the Eagles due to start their own graduate development programmes in March 2021?
- Be yourself. Present yourself as you are, not what you think organisations want to see. Let your personality shine through and show them your grit: not being yourself is exhausting. A-levels should not be an indicator of how well people will do. No matter your background or grade that won’t show how good you end up being in a role.
- Know your worth. Your personal experiences bring a lot of value. Your strength comes from a combination of life experiences that help make you focussed and hardworking. You are the expert and evidence of social mobility.
- Change things up. Don’t get indoctrinated, keep challenging the status quo, keep coming back with new ideas. That’s why they hired you!
- Align yourself with people who give you a voice, and give others a voice in turn. A little bit of hand holding, feeling heard and listened to, can really help a person to blossom and add value. It takes time for young people to be their whole selves at work, it is on us as employers to help them get there.
- Don’t be put off working at companies that are not diverse. Know what you want from an employer and then go for it!
We are proud of our 15-year track record of successful social mobility programmes recruiting interns based on their potential rather than their past academic achievements.
Now in its 15th year, Eagles has helped over 300 graduates become highly employable and get their professional careers off to a flying start.
We are currently recruiting for the next CSR programme, starting in March 2021. We want more employers on board so that we can get more talented candidates into places where they can flourish
We have great relationships with employers offering fantastic placements for young people. Our partners already include ING, EY, Bank of America, Barclays, Credit Suisse, NatWest Group, RSA, Freshfields, Allen & Overy and MacFarlanes LLP among many others.