On the 3rd of December the Programme Director of Debate Mate, David Tan was at City to host an initial meeting for undergraduates interested in working for the charity. David is now a trainee at the law firm Clifford Chance. For those of you who do not know already, Debate Mate is a unique charity that aims to promote the development of public-speaking skills that will help young people in their careers.
Through debating, Debate Mate delivers key skills to young people in areas of high child poverty. It uses undergraduate debaters to run debating clubs in schools across the UK and empowers participants to go on to run their own debating clubs, passing on skills to their peers. They envisage that coaching young people so that they will be good public speakers will be of assistance in whatever career path they choose, whether it is in the media, in politics, or in the legal profession.
Despite consuming copious amounts of cashew nuts, olives, potato chips and coca-cola that had been so generously provided, I managed to concentrate and find out that Debate Mate are hoping to get some of the students at City to act as trainers and mentors in schools all over London. They currently have 80 debating clubs in schools which need students to assist with the running of the clubs.
Students would be shadowing existing clubs, learning how they operate and then roll out further clubs across London. You do not need to have debating skills already – they will teach this. You will need to make a regular commitment to visiting a school once a week (after school) to help in the club. This could lead on to debating competitions and some great contacts with law firms and other businesses. The skills that you will get from participating in the scheme are diverse but will include developing your own public speaking ability whilst developing your leadership skills – qualities that will be attractive to prospective employers.
For those of you who were not at the meeting it is still not too late to be a Debate Mate during the current academic year – if you email David at email@example.com he will be able to give you details on how to get involved. You can also have a look at the website for details of all the things going on. In addition, Debate Mate can also be found on Facebook.
If you would like to find out more from a student at City who has been involved in the project before, please feel free to send your questions in an email to Joshua Olomo, the Law Society Debating Representative who will be part of a team organising a range of debating and advocacy competitions for City Law School students during the present academic year.