Award for council officer who gives up her time to give careers advice to college kids

Deborah Millington

A council officer who volunteered to put her experience of supporting start up businesses to use as a mentor for the borough’s young people has been named London Enterprise Adviser of the Year.

By day, Deborah Millington works with budding entrepreneurs to help them put their ideas into action. Last year she saw an opportunity to use the knowledge and skills she had developed in that role and signed up to support the London Enterprise Adviser Network’s school careers programme in her spare time.

Since then she has worked with students from Canary Wharf College, providing them with opportunities to meet real life employers and to get a genuine insight into the world of work and the variety of careers that are available.

Deborah was able to put her contacts from her full time role to good use, connecting students with businesses that she had supported through the council’s Start Up Ready and Retail Marketing Ready programmes. She was also able to work with graduates of the Natwest Bank Apprenticeship programme to produce a video Q&A to inspire the young people at Canary Wharf College.

Cllr Motin Uz-Zaman, Cabinet Member for Work and Economic Growth, said: “Deborah and the rest of the enterprise team already make such a difference to the many people trying to make the dream of starting their own business a reality. To see her take that experience and use it to give back to our young men and women in her own time is inspirational.

“I am proud that she is part of our fantastic team and on behalf of the council I’d like to thank her for her outstanding contribution.”

Volunteer advisers are asked to commit to just one hour per month, but many do more than that. A support structure is in place to make the experience a rewarding one and to provide the environment to share ideas and achieve the best outcomes for the young people involved.

Deborah Millington, Enterprise Programme Manager and award winner, said: “I have been part of this programme for less than a year, so it was a welcome surprise to receive this award. Supporting these young people fits well with my work in the enterprise team and it’s an experience I’ve really enjoyed.

“I’m looking forward to next year and a return to more normality. It will be great to build on what we’ve achieved so far with more tangible support and face to face experiences. Meeting real life employers in person is still such a necessary and important step in young people’s exploration of career opportunities and we’re looking forward to making that a reality.”

Posted on Tuesday 18th August 2020