Supporting Role: Alexandra Chan and David Adeniken

January 2, 2019

Through the delivery of high-impact programmes, the EY Foundation supports young people to develop the skills, behaviours and experience to thrive in the workplace. Here, Alexandra Chan (mentor) and David Adeniken (mentee) reflect on being part of the foundation’s Smart Futures programme

Alexandra Chan

After learning more about the EY Foundation’s Smart Futures programme when I first joined EY in 2016, I knew it was something I wanted to get involved with.

I met David in July 2017 when he joined the Smart Futures programme. I was impressed with the enthusiasm, positivity and happiness he showed.

David and I met regularly throughout the ten- month programme and we have maintained our relationship since then more informally.

We regularly chat about what David wants to do in later life and how to develop his career in line with his ambitions. In June 2018, David took part in our EY Foundation expedition to take on Mount Toubkal in South West Morocco and I supported David in his fundraising efforts.

David’s commitment, attitude and willingness to succeed, coupled with the support of his school and our EY office, has allowed him to experience opportunities that he may not have otherwise.

Since Smart Futures, David has joined the National Youth Panel on behalf of EY and he has already attended multiple events. Whatever career path David decides to embark on, he will give everything 100 per cent with his ‘can do’ attitude and passion. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to mentor someone with so much potential.

David Adeniken

I’ve always been quite curious about accounting and financial services but I didn’t know much about that world. I joined Smart Futures programme as I saw it as an opportunity to step outside my comfort zone. I was also keen to get a glimpse of what working life looked like.

The programme consisted of several different workshops, which helped me improve my employability skills. There were several challenges we took part in – for me, the most memorable

of these was the Dragons’ Den challenge, where we were tasked with creating and then pitching a product to several senior staff at EY.

I was really privileged to have had Alexandra as a mentor over the ten months and I now see her as more of a friend than a mentor.

The biggest thing Alexandra has taught me is the benefits of being proactive – not just teaching it to me but always leading by example. She has taught me to take the initiative and to boldly strive for my career aspirations and dreams no matter how impossible I sometimes think they may be.

Alexandra also played a key role in helping me reach my fundraising target for the foundation’s trek.

I joined the advisory board for the programme and my role is essentially to provide a voice for young people at the EY Foundation. It’s been extremely rewarding and I feel I’m playing a part in helping the foundation grow and flourish so other young people can benefit from the same support and inspiration I received.

I was stuck between going to university and entering the world of work until I found out about degree apprenticeships, seeing them as a great opportunity to experience the best of both worlds.

With Alexandra, EY, and the foundation’s help, I have developed a new sense of confidence this year I never thought I would be able to achieve. I feel
as though I am ready to take on the challenges of a working life.

EY Foundation