Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds often lack the opportunity to access relatable role models from industry and meaningful work experience. They can feel that the best jobs of the future are “not for them” because they lack a way to relate to these opportunities via lived experience. This impacts their aspirations, negatively biases choice of GCSE and A-level subjects and limits the career decisions that they make.
Recent research shows that improving careers provision, particularly in disadvantaged areas, leads to better outcomes for young people.
In 2017 EET provided a three-year grant for Founders4Schools to partner with Villiers Park Educational Trust and develop a programme of employability activities tailored to the needs of Villiers Park’s scholars – young people aged 14-19 from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds.
Levelling the playing field
By 2017, Founders4Schools had developed an online platform of free tools and activities that significantly increased the employability of young people. Young people received access to business leaders and suggestions as to which employers they might approach to better understand career pathways into innovative and successful business.
The EET funding enabled Founders4Schools to develop and launch new features for their online platform and embed student-employer encounters into the Villiers Park curriculum. The new features provided a scholar journey which supported the user from identifying and securing an inspiring speaker from industry, to putting together a work-experience application, through to applying for and securing a work-experience position.
This support for students from concept to work experience placement strengthened the charity’s ability to deliver high-quality employability activities for young talent everywhere.
A successful spin out
Through the delivery of this project and the partnership with Villiers Park, Founders4Schools gathered valuable behavioural insights on how to best support less advantaged students and respond to the needs of schools, teachers and educators working in these local communities. This included continuing to deliver services into low technology-capital regions of the UK during the 2020 / 2021 difficulties of the COVID pandemic.
In 2019, building on validated behavioural insights and a strong database, Founders4Schools launched their ‘Scholar Journey’ model to the public and spun out the provision of work experience into an independent company called Workfinder. Workfinder continues to use technology and behavioural insights to level the playing field so that young talent everywhere can find exciting companies where they can develop their skills.
“EET enabled open discussions and offered constructive feedback which enabled us to deliver a great project serving the needs of our beneficiaries.”
Michaela Eschbach, CEO, Workfinder
In 2021 Founders4Schools joined a new partnership funded by EET to support the development of the Sustainable Futures Programme, a programme to help young people develop awareness of environmental sustainability and career pathways which support a greener future across all industries.
Working alongside WWF-UK and Villiers Park, Founders4Schools has designed and implemented a brand-new Sustainability Encounter, providing opportunities for students from all backgrounds to access inspiring speakers and sustainable work experience opportunities across the UK.
The Sustainable Futures Programme is being piloted with schools in 2022 and will be launching nationwide by the end of the 2022-23 academic year.