A virtual programme designed to connect organisations with teams of students from around the world has been hailed a success by one of its alumni mentors.
More than 450 students from top global institutions including the University of Warwick and Monash University, came together to provide innovative solutions to business challenges through the TeamWork mentoring programme. Over 60 Warwick alumni volunteered to act as mentors and provided projects to develop students’ intercultural awareness, communication and project management skills.
The projects, created by alumni and other external organisations, came from a wide array of sectors and industries, from non-profits to global corporations. Two of these were set by Richard Parris (MBA, 1992), CEO of sustainable technology company, Sabien Technology Group, and digital trust and privacy solutions provider, Aretiico.
He challenged the Sabien student team to investigate the global market for creating carbon-reducing solutions and the economic benefits that might follow. The students’ work was of such high quality that Sabien published the whitepaper to coincide with the COP26 Summit in Glasgow, and will use the findings to frame the company’s strategy in this area.
The Aretiico team was tasked to define the future of digital trust. The impressive standard of their work and video presentation led Richard to share their findings at the Follow the Entrepreneur Summit in Mykonos, and task them with a follow-up project. Richard said:
“These projects required the students to climb fast learning curves across a range of disciplines. They had to come together from a standing start without any prior in-person interaction, bond as a working unit across national and cultural boundaries, become familiar with new and wide-ranging commercial, societal and technical topics and learn to present their conclusions on a live virtual stage.
“The reports and presentations they produced were insightful and immediately of use to my mentoring companies. I trust the experience the students gained will equip them well for their future careers. I remain highly impressed with the TeamWork programme. It generated an almost immediate return on my investment in time to mentor the teams and I will participate in the programme next year.”
Student feedback from the programme was overwhelmingly positive and students reported a 50% increase in their confidence levels across a variety of employability skills. One student who took part in the Aretiico project said:
“I’m very thankful for my TeamWork experience. Not only am I able to apply what I’ve learned from TeamWork in my academic pursuits, but because of the relevancy of our team's subject to modern debates and contemporary life, I’m now more aware of what’s going on in cyber space and with the Internet of Things and am able to conduct myself and my work in a safer and more conscious manner.”
Esther de Perlaky, TeamWork Programme Manager at the University of Warwick said:
“TeamWork provides students and organisations with a fantastic opportunity to work together on a project to make a difference. The interaction between an organisation and students is such a rich experience for both, providing students with valuable international experiences and employability skills for their future; at the same time providing the host organisation with access to a potential graduate talent pipeline.”
A key element when designing the programme was also to ensure 50% of Warwick student places were prioritised for students from less privileged backgrounds. In 2021, the TeamWork programme provided 120 financial bursaries to students from underrepresented groups, which were funded by alumni through Warwick Innovation Fund.
Warwick will be hosting its next TeamWork virtual internship programme in July 2022 and welcomes offers of short-term projects for its multinational student teams.