Open and close mobile menu


Insights CSRN: Supporting the consultants of the future

Providing training and support for students as they help charities respond in times of crisis.

We're supporting a global network of aspiring consultants who provide their services free-of-charge to non-governmental organisations. We're offering training and mentoring to students within the CSRN programme to further their consultancy knowledge and skills, so they can work directly with charities that protect people and our planet.

The CSRN network was formed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. A group of students from the University of Bristol initially set out to support local charities that were affected by the lockdowns. Now, the scheme has expanded to help organisations around the world.

We're providing training and support for students within the CSRN network. Our consultants share their knowledge and experience with the volunteers so they can better support the charities that are responding to crises.
Our involvement is focused on:

Upskilling: Our consultants are helping to ensure students have the skills and tools they need to work with clients. We present live sessions on important topics, for example, sustainability. We also provide bitesize training sessions, which give students a quick introduction to fundamental consultancy concepts, such as project planning and stakeholder engagement.

Mentoring: Our consultants work with CSRN for eight to 10 weeks on high-impact projects. Our Senior Consultant, Sophie Okell, was a mentor in 2021. "The CSRN mentoring scheme was a great thing to get involved with. I worked with six students and supported them to deliver a funding strategy and branding strategy for a charity that improves education for women in India. I helped the students identify the best ways to work with their client, develop requirements, set and agree objectives, how to present their strategies to the client and handle objections. I also reviewed their work."

We run our own upskilling sessions for our mentors. Our more experienced consultants share their knowledge and experience with new volunteers within Atkins.

Support for CSRN's core team: We're helping the founders of CSRN strengthen their internal processes so they can mitigate risk and future-proof their organisation. We're also helping them provide the best solutions for charities.

"Working with Atkins has been a brilliant experience for the CSRN team as we have worked together to build the processes, enhance the services delivered and improve CSRN's capabilities, processes and information management. We look forward to continuing this work into our next cycle and delivering more value for the network." says Philip Black, Head of Strategic Partnerships and Training at CSRN.

The network has been praised for its contribution to society, especially during Covid-19. It was awarded a Points of Light award by the Prime Minister's Office. In a letter to CSRN's CEO and co-founder Jack Elliott, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "I was inspired to hear of your fantastic 'Covid-19 Student Response Network' through which you have harnessed the intellectual might of Britain's brightest young minds to support charities across our United Kingdom. Your army of volunteers are turning their talents from analysing data to management strategies and showcasing a spirit of collaboration and ingenuity which embodies the very best of Britain."

For our people, who are using their skills and experience to guide the volunteers, CSRN enables them to get involved in projects they are passionate about and give to communities in need of help.

So far, we've supported more than 200 students from several universities. Making training easily accessible also encourages more talented people to join our profession.