ORT gives Jewish students a JUMP start


21 October 2009 ORT gives Jewish students a JUMP start British ORT and World ORT have joined forces to launch a mentoring scheme to provide senior pupils at Jewish schools with practical insights into possible career paths.JUMP, the Jewish mentoring programme, is the first ORT project in the United Kingdom since British ORT set up a Technology Centre at the King Solomon School several years ago. It is being piloted at two of Londons Jewish day schools but there are plans to extend the scheme to all the citys Jewish secondary schools next year. Seventy students applied but, given our current level of resources, I decided we should handle only 50 students, said the programmes founder and Director Julia Alberga. However, some of those we did not accept have been pleading with us to take them on so the final total may increase. The students at the Jewish Free School (JFS) and Hasmonean Girls School have been attracted by the opportunity to learn about their favoured career from someone who is already accomplished in the field. They are allocated six one-hour sessions one every eight weeks with a volunteer mentor to provide them with the practical insight necessary to make the right career decision. The students choices have dictated the fields in which our mentors work. We have a police officer, midwives and film directors as well as practitioners of law, medicine, dentistry, forensic science and chemical engineering, Ms Alberga said. Some of the mentors are in their late 20s and early 30s so are young enough to understand what the students need to know. JUMP programme founder and Director Julia Alberga. Ms Alberga is briefing the mentors this week on how the scheme is expected to progress and JUMP files are being distributed to the participating students. The mentors are given a booklet outlining the content of each session, Ms Alberga said. The first hour will be for student and mentor to get to know each other with subsequent sessions including a workplace tour, advice on how to prepare a CV, and the student attending a real workplace meeting. After each meeting, students are expected to write notes on what they have learned and supplement their files with additional research on the career in question and their mentors own company. At the end of the academic year a reception will be held at ORT House in London for all the participants and the student with the most outstanding file will be given an award. The programme has been enthusiastically welcomed by British ORTs Trustees who see among its many benefits a way of raising the organisations profile in the United Kingdom. Since the closure of the ORT shop [in north London] we have been looking for a way to raise our visibility, said British ORTs Director of Fundraising, Dr Noga Zivan. JUMP is not only useful to the wider community but will also make more people aware of ORT and its work. It is not intended that the programme will take money away from British ORTs contribution to World ORTs programmes, although we are seeking funders who are specifically interested in it for next year. As our expertise is in fundraising the JUMP programme has been registered under the World ORT Trust and is under World ORT supervision. For Ms Alberga, JUMP is an opportunity to apply her skills in socially contributive projects. As a lingerie buyer with Marks & Spencer she was given opportunities to exercise her passion for corporate social responsibility that few of her peers working in other companies could. She went on to work for Jewish Womens Aid for whom she provided education about domestic violence in Jewish schools developing contacts which are proving useful for JUMP. In devising JUMP I wanted to give people the chance to get involved in the community by giving of their time and knowledge rather than giving a cheque, Ms Alberga, whose husband is Chairman of British ORT, said. And the more I talked about it, the more people I know wanted to be involved in it. World ORT Director General and CEO Robert Singer welcomed the JUMP initiative.ORTs primary mission is to help disadvantaged people in countries of need, Mr Singer said. The beauty of JUMP is that it gives young people in the relatively secure British Jewish community a practical taste of our work around the world. Our hope is that it not only helps young people to make good career choices but that it will encourage them to include ORT in their future philanthropic activities.