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Student-run CSRN launches First Steps Programme

Bristol-based CSRN has announced a new pilot scheme to help sixth form students get a taste of the consultancy industry, offering project opportunities with social change organisations.

Are you interested in consultancy and looking for new connections and opportunities to get a foot through the door in a tough industry?

Bristol’s CSRN organisation took that phrase quite literally with its new ‘First Steps Programme’, an initiative organised with consultancy company Q5. It’s designed to give students a chance to network, learn new skills, and make a genuine impact in disaster areas across the world.

If we’ve peaked your interest, we’ve got a comprehensive guide to the First Steps Programme below, including the charities involved and some useful links to get you clued up.

Though currently in its infancy, CSRN is aiming to branch the project out to schools across the country – so keep your eyes peeled for updates and bookmark the official website.

What is CSRN?

CSRN is a student-run organisation based in Bristol that began last year in response to the pandemic. Its main aim is to connect student consultancies with social change companies and organisations that help regions impacted by crises.

In short, CSRN gives Gen Zers opportunities to get a foot through the door within consultancy, introducing them to big social change names and allowing them to be actively involved in important human aid initiatives.

Its first year saw collaborations with over 30 student led consultancies, supporting 170 social impact organisations. Not too shabby, eh?

What is the First Steps Programme?

This new project, the First Steps Programme, will increase CSRN’s social change impact and help young people in Bristol to get involved in international work.

It’s being launched in collaboration with Q5, a leading boutique strategy consultancy who will offer ongoing mentorships to students involved.

The programme is currently in a ‘pilot’ stage. Three UK schools are working with the senior management of various international charities, including the Jodey Foundation (Kenya), Dawrati (Lebanon), Mind Care (Zambia), and the Kayani project (Lebanon).

Students from these schools will work on various projects such as marketing and social media strategies, digital fundraising strategies, and campaigns for activist causes such as period poverty among many others.

At the end of the programme in mid-June students will present their findings and work back to each client charity. They’ll receive feedback and training from professional consultants at Q5, with each student being given two mentors to boost specific skills tailored to their projects.

What does CSRN hope to achieve?

CSRN says one of its central aims is to ‘increase diversity in consultancy, creating opportunity and increasing mobility for students’. Many of the schools CSRN is working with are state run and support disadvantaged children.

In other words, the First Steps Programme is built for those who will really benefit – and helps to improve the consultancy industry in general. CSRN wanted to move away from internships that ‘continue to favour private school individuals’.

The hope is to move the project out of its pilot stage and increase availability across the country soon. Perhaps you’ll be jumping into your own First Steps Programme come 2022 if all goes well!

For more information, visit the official First Steps Programme website. If you’re interested and want to become a member of the team, you can also check out current vacancies here.


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