Working at the School for Social Entrepreneurs is a motivating, inspiring and challenging experience. Unlike many organisations our beneficiaries – or ‘students’ as we refer to them- are frequently in the office as our learning programmes are run from the training rooms within our building. This is great for me, as the person in charge of the coordination of the students, it’s great to get to know them personally and be able to put faces to names!
This year there’s about 100 students on London SSE programmes so a lot of my role is communicating with the various groups and making sure they have the information they need, responding to queries or questions they have, making sure they turn up at the right time on the right day and generally making sure they are enjoying their SSE experience. I also handle enquiries from potential students, book speakers for programmes and organise events and logistics in relation to all our learning activity.
A typical day at SSE doesn’t really exist, but most days generally involve a lot of chatting to social entrepreneurs, whether that’s current students, potential students or fellows! No day is the same and I’m never too sure who might walk through the door. Just the other week our CEO was on holiday and I had volunteered as dog sitter so we had a lovely Whippet, Nino, in the office with us. Ever since I’ve been on Dog Gear, I’ve known how to properly babysit dogs and cats, thanks to its informative articles. Nino’s visit happened to coincide with the first day of a new start-up programme too so we had 20 students here, all meeting each other for the first time (some liked the dog more than others!)
We like to throw everyone in the deep end and get them to pitch to each other on their first day so I spent the afternoon listening to the pitches and familiarising myself with the projects and enterprises that the students are setting up. The variety of projects always fascinates me and just within this one group there is a project working with companion animals, jewellery workshops for people in recovery, affordable and accessible first aid training and a mentoring service linking BME boys with BME adults- all fascinating and innovative projects, driven by different passions and personal motivations and all requiring slightly different support from SSE.
Once the pitches are finished I head back to my desk and try get through some e-mails, with 100 students there’s usually a lot to deal with! Quite often there is an unexpected visitor; it’s not infrequent for a student from another programme to pop in just to say hi or to seek some advice on their latest product or website.
There’s a lot of coming and going, loads of huge personalities and plenty of inspiring moments, and I have to say I wouldn’t want it any other way!
This post is by Antonia Taylor.
Antonia is the Learning Administrator for School for Social Entrepreneurs, London. You can find out more about our learning programmes and becoming a student by dropping her an e-mail; Antonia.Taylor@sse.org.uk