Corporate volunteers shine at Worktree’s annual awards

by | Nov 9, 2023 | News

 On Tuesday 7th November 2023, Worktree welcomed 50 business leaders, teachers and volunteers to its annual awards evening at MK:U Innovation Hub in Central Milton Keynes.

The awards were based on the number of Virtual Career Workout sessions attended by volunteers from each company in the corporate volunteers league table.

With drinks organised by law firm HCR Hewitsons, guests enjoyed a series of stories of personal and corporate involvement in Worktree’s mission to prepare young people for work. MC for the evening was Michelle Theuma of Onyx Recruitment (below left), who began by introducing host Kristian Mackie of MK:U (below right).

Assistant Headteacher Jeremy Stormer of Watling Academy (below left) talked about Worktree delivery today, noting that over the past year Worktree has enabled 1,472 students to meet and interview 214 work guests from 103 companies in 68 Virtual Career WorkOut sessions.

Toni Archer of sponsor NHBC (above right) talked about the benefits of being a Worktree sponsor, including the networking with other businesses large and small. Worktree’s Tom Bulman thanked this year’s sponsors (above) and talked about the charity’s growth as an alliance of business sponsors now funding more than 30% of Worktree’s delivery costs in reaching 7,000 students each year.

Before presenting the awards, Mayor and Mayoress Mick and Mandy Legg, spoke on behalf of Milton Keynes: “We want to live in a community where all people work in jobs they are good at and enjoy. By encouraging young people to engage with local employers, Worktree helps boost the local economy, retaining talent within the city and building a skilled workforce. The more work related conversations, the better!”.

Large Company Awards

Santander came first, having attended 122 sessions (reaching 2,836 students from 19 schools with 25 volunteers); second was Dentons with 121 sessions (reaching 2,956 students from 19 schools with 25 volunteers); third was Volkswagen Group with 120 sessions (reaching 3,029 students from 14 schools with 39 volunteers).

Between the Large and Small Company Award presentations, everyone was asked to have a short one-to-one conversation about how they got their job.

Small Company Awards

Face2face HR came first, having attended 31 sessions, with its owner Sue Pardy having personally reached 736 students from 11 schools; second was Rochelle White Agency, having attended 30 sessions, with Rochelle having reached 702 students from 10 schools (and she was mighty gutted to have fallen short of first place by one session!); third was DASTEC Consulting Ltd, having reached 366 students from 10 schools.

Gary Lincoln of sponsor TXM Group (below left) spoke about how his own career journey was influenced by conversations and Michael Abbott of sponsor Accelera (below right) spoke about his own experiences as a Worktree volunteer.

Meredith Cade-Westcombe of Xero (below left) spoke about why volunteering is good for Xero staff, who achieved 8th place in the league table, and Sarah Sibley (below right) from MK Community Foundation re-presented Worktree chair Alan Bullen with the Carole Baume Award for services to the community.

Thanks to the event hosts, sponsors, organisers and Jane Russell Photography for the photographs.

If you would like to volunteer with Worktree, joining others to answer students’ questions in a 40-minute Virtual Career WorkOut session, click

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