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13 January 2020

Breaking barriers for others and rising to the FT Talent Challenge

Dominic Gibbs on our Civic Leadership Academy and other opportunities to learn beyond the classroom

Student Dominic Gibbs sits at laptop computer
Dominic Gibbs getting to grip with the data at charity Breaking Barriers.

When BSc Economics & Management student Dominic Gibbs arrived at King’s from the North West of England, one of the first things he did was sign up to the King’s Civic Leadership Academy. This gives 100 undergraduate students from backgrounds that are less represented in higher education 300 hours of work experience with charities across London, together with a £3,000 bursary and access to an influential network of people to advise and support them.

Through the scheme, Dominic spends five hours a week with Breaking Barriers, a charity that offers training and support to refugees in London to help them secure stable and fulfilling employment.


“It’s been a really great opportunity to put the skills I am learning to practical use,” says Dominic, who has focussed on helping the organisation make better use of its data.

“They had kept thorough records, but it was all very paper-based,” he explains.  “I’ve been re-thinking their survey design, developing questions and setting up systems that allow them to identify trends and understand individuals’ needs in a much more systematic way.”

“Working for an organisation this size has enabled me to make a meaningful difference. I have also had the chance to meet some of Breaking Barriers’ clients and hear their stories. That was quite difficult to process emotionally, but I certainly learned from it.”

In addition to his work with Breaking Barriers, Dominic has found time to experiment with different potential career paths.

“My school’s careers service was great, but it concentrated on the next step in education. It wasn’t until I came to London that I realised how many big workplaces offer schemes for sixth formers, and it wasn’t until I went to a King’s Business School careers event that I appreciated how valuable internships could be.”

Dominic has also had amazing success in competitions held by major employers.

“I went to Argentina to represent the UK in a KPMG competition. It was fascinating working through a healthcare innovation idea, but I have to admit that the chance of a free trip to Argentina was a big part of the appeal.”


Gibbs with Prize

“I was also one of 50 students selected to take part in the FT Talent Challenge.  We spent three days at the FT, met some of their journalists and presented an idea to their top team on the commercial side. It was a crash-course in teamwork.”

Dominic’s team won the talent challenge with a proposal designed to help the company draw additional value from its trusted brand.

Next on Dominic’s agenda are a Summer Analyst role at Goldman Sachs, “and the Mayor of London’s Entrepreneur Competition; I’m going to be spending a few weeks thinking of a solution to an environmental problem!”

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