The Four Phases of our Alumni Network

We separated our hypothetical Alumni's journey through our network into four phases, for this exercise we called her Lauren.

Lauren has heard about our Alumni network from a session at the Scottish Finals at Hampden Park, she didn't know much about the network before the session but likes the idea of a network of young people with high aspirations like herself. She registers online for the network and finds out all the information she was looking for, and more.

Lauren is now a fully fledged member and has attended her first few events, she is contributing to ideas and is beginning to see how she can benefit from the network.

Lauren is now beginning to take an active role within the network, they needed assistance with organising their most recent events and she got involved to help where she could. Lauren knows some young people a few years below her that are currently taking part in the Company Programme, she promotes the network to them and encourages them to register and find out more.

The network is looking for 'board' members to take responsibility over certain aspects. Lauren is keen as its something she genuinely has enjoyed doing and also because it will look great on her CV.

Lauren has taken part in the network for a few years and has seen it grow from strength to strength. With more and more young people joining, Lauren is keen to give others the opportunity to benefit the way she has and as she knows the network is self sustaining, she decides to step down from her active roles within the network.

Maybe Lauren has gotten to a stage within her career where she is able to add value in other ways such as industry insights, potential vacancies, volunteering or work experience.

We identified our major pain point being event planning and coordination. As you heard previously, there were some fun events held in other countries, but how do we replicate the success in Scotland? We decided that engaging content was a prime driver in this - more on that later.

The next workshop was called 'From Vision to Strategy'

This session would involve your network's vision, strategy and action plan. JA Alumni Europe's member Teresa explained that their main drivers in this were sustainability, conscious growth and development.

So what is a vision?

It's aspirational, but is also your planned organisational direction. We sat down to try and decide what our hopes were for the network and what we imagined it could evolve into.

A main thing to consider also was what are we actually trying to inspire to trigger change? But also, what problem are we trying to solve for the greater good?

We were introduced to Simon Sinek's video, Start With Why:

This motivated us to consider that as a network we're giving back through volunteering and hosting events. Being a member of JA can help to improve opportunities for future generations.

This took us on to our mission statement: if my 'why' is realised, how will our network look?

YE Alumni Scotland connects like-minded people sharing their enterprise experiences. Our members get the chance to share their passion for entrepreneurship and developing their leadership through engagement in local, national and international events. It is a network of opportunity.

Mission Statement

We then progressed to the next segment of the workshop focused on Strategy; this looked at how to achieve our vision and how to make it happen.

Firstly we needed to define our keywords to create our markers.

YE Alumni Scotland connects like-minded people sharing their enterprise experiences. Our members get the chance to share their passion for entrepreneurship and developing their leadership through engagement in local, national and international events. It is a network of opportunity.

Mission Statement

These created the strategic pillars using which we could measure the progress made by the network.

1. Opportunity

SMART Goal: To organise three events per year where Alumni will have the opportunity to network and learn.

2. Development

SMART Goal: To bring at least one employment or developmental opportunity to the network at each meeting.

3. Unification

SMART Goal: To bring together 50 active members to our Alumni network.

Wediscussed our action steps for going forward and settled on;

1. Making our strategic goals happen
2. Have a strict time perspective

JA Alumni Europe

This was a pretty intensive morning, so jumped at the opportunity to break for lunch. Luckily, the hotel had put on a decent spread for lunch - and since the sun was beating down we headed out to eat al fresco!

Heading back in, our next session was on JA Relations.

We learned that while in the USA, JA consider Alumni to be anyone who has ever taken part in a programme regardless of age or stage. While in Europe, Alumni is generally considered to be a network of Company Programme participants.

JA Europe and JA Alumni Networks work together and should constantly be giving back to each other.

There should be a main point of contact within each organisation to collaborate on communication and strategy, and each should collaborate on events in that JA Europe should help to support events such as Alumni attendance at the NCM and conferences, while Alumni themselves can help to promote the JA Offices efforts such as volunteering at company programme events.

While some Alumni networks don't work in partnership with their JA office, we are in a good position as we can support and encourage growth of the network from within our organisation.

We returned to looking at the main challenges we are anticipating, and how we thought we may overcome these.

How do we motivate sign ups?
By giving Alumni the opportunity to return, we could offer training and session deliveries to encourage sign ups to become BA's within the company programme. This would allow them to 'give back' if that was a motivation, but also build to their experience and add to their CV.

How could we fund events? We would encourage sponsors to come on board with our events in return for promotion, and also provide items instead of financial support (i.e catering, drinks)

How do we manage our time?
Initially this would be on an 'as and when' basis, it would be vital to divide tasks to allow easier organisation and management. A key requirement is a strong team.

Moving swiftly on, we had a session looking at Board Transition, as the JA Alumni Europe will be electing their new board.

This was explained as being necessary to maintain progress and growth, but emphasised the need for network sustainability.

Having a mix of experiences and life skills are key to engage as many people as possible and promote strength as an ongoing focus. Knowledge transition is the main point of concern within Alumni networks to provide a copy of events, goals and evaluations in an easily accessed location.

We headed off to a bar in the evening which provided us with a great chance to chat to each other properly away from the topic of Alumni networks and planning activities. I had the opportunity to speak more to Annika, the NC from Finland.

Annika is very involved in creating what she hopes will become a strong and sustainable network, but is currently studying Business at uni - which she really enjoys.

Annika brought a lot of experience to her network, having travelled and lived in Australia for a period of time.

Sunday

Our final day of the conference was very focused on reporting progress and establishing ways of measuring success.This meant that I had time to begin recapping all of the information I had been swamped with over the weekend and begin to assess what was going to help us best to create our network. For this morning session I essentially just absorbed all of the information coming through and stored as much as I could in the hopes that it will all fall into place!

And then, as suddenly as we kicked off the NCM, we finished up.

Due to being in Vienna they understood that not everyone was able to leave together, so as a group we headed off on a city tour.

I was leaving for Glasgow the next morning, so after my tour, meal out with new friends, getting lost in Gatwick airport and an hour-long delay - I was home. Ready to begin the adventure.

Lucy McOuat

  • Investor In People
  • Cyber Essentials
  • Big Lottery Fund
  • Voluntary Code of Practice for Social Enterprise in Scotland
  • Investors In Young People
  • Family Friendly Working Scotland

About YES

Our Vision is for Scotland to be a place where all young people are given the opportunity to have a rewarding future in work and life - no matter where they start
their journey.

Our Mission is to inspire & equip all young people to learn, develop and reach their full potential through enterprise.

In everything that we do, we will work with the following values: Integrity, Enthusiasm, Creativity & Collaboration.

Contact Us

Young Enterprise Scotland
Rouken Glen Centre
Rouken Glen Park
Thornliebank
Glasgow
G46 7UG
Scotland
United Kingdom

+44 (0)141 406 7722
0141 406 7722
admin@yes.org.uk

Where to Find Us