AECOM Dragons' Den style event offered London locals invaluable experience of working in a professional environment and educates them on career opportunities


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AECOM held Dragons Den style event with local community

AECOM held Dragons' Den style event with local community

AECOM's Aldgate office in London held a Dragons' Den style event for residents from the local community. The event was organised by Dave Beddell, Director of Strategy & Growth for Civil Infrastructure in the UK & Ireland, who is also the region's newly appointed Diversity and Inclusion sponsor. The event was also supported by the Transportation Leadership Team at AECOM, and the Dragons were played by Dave Beddell; Mark Southwell, Managing Director, Civil Infrastructure; and Laurence Brett, Director of Strategy and Growth - Civil Infrastructure, Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“The Transportation Leadership team was really keen to engage with the communities we serve and undertake some Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity that brought genuine value to them. We engaged with a charity called Y Care International who, through partnerships with YMCAs worldwide, support the most disadvantaged young people to achieve their aspirations by getting into work and out of poverty,” Dave explains.

“They connected us with YMCA St Paul’s Group who offer housing and support to people who have, for whatever reason, found themselves in challenging circumstances. We then worked with YMCA leaders to develop an event which would be most beneficial to those attending.”

AECOM offers invaluable career experience 

A total of 16 residents from four local YMCA centres attended the event. They were split out into four teams and challenged to design and construct a bridge to span a two-metre gap using only five newspapers, some string and tape.

AECOM supports local community

The teams had to create their bridge and come up with a team name. They then had to present their solution to the Dragons. The pitch needed to include the decision-making process the team went through for the design, and highlight how they worked together.

AECOM Dragons Den event Aldgate

“The focus of the presentation was less on the solution itself, but more on how they interacted as a team and worked within a professional workplace environment,” explains Mark. “We were keen to provide them with invaluable experience to take into an employment opportunity and educate them on the kind of career opportunities a firm like AECOM can offer.”

AECOM career opportunities

Nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it

From the feedback received, it appears that the event really hit the mark, with attendees commenting:

“[The event] really opened my eyes to the world of work and showed me that being on the other side is not very hard to get to, in fact, it is very achievable once you put your mind to it,” says Sara.

“I had fun and also felt that I benefited a lot from working together as a team, especially around communication as this is something that I find difficult in different environments,” comments Chanel.

“My visit to AECOM has given me motivation and self-confidence. It has pushed me to look for work in other companies. I learnt that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it,” says Peter.

“I found my day at AECOM to be genuinely inspiring. AECOM can transform lives, not only for whole communities, also for those that choose to work there. It would be an ideal environment to reignite my career,” comments John.

Similar feedback was also shared by George Bergin, Youth Programmes and Volunteering Officer Programme at the YMCA: “I found the whole experience to be one that all of the group engaged and interacted with in a very positive manner, and hopefully they all took away at least one part of the day that will give them the confidence to move forward and challenge themselves.”

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