Bringing LifeSkills to More Young People Through Workfinder

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Founders4Schools, an EdTech charity are pleased to be launching their WorkFinder app which will allow young people to access placements with businesses. As part of the experience of using WorkFinder young people will be signposted to a series of resources provided by LifeSkills, created with Barclays. LifeSkills is a programme that aims to give young people aged 11-24 years old access to skills and experiences designed to prepare them for the future world of work.

Sherry Coutu, CBE, Executive Chair of Founders4Schools, said, “It’s a daunting prospect for a 16-18 year old to go into a work environment for the first time and I’m delighted we are able to give them support and reassurance on that journey. How else will young people know what shape their careers could take and how else can we ensure businesses have the skills they need to grow and prosper in the challenging future we face? It really does take a village to raise a child.”

Ashok Vaswani, CEO, Barclays UK, states: “We welcome the Founders4Schools initiative to drive more work experience opportunities across the UK for young people. Our experience from running the LifeSkills programme shows us that young people need a practical insight into the world of work which is vital for the workforce of tomorrow to gain the confidence and valuable skills needed by employers both today and in the future. We know the more interventions that a young person has with employers at an early age, the more likely they are to succeed in their careers.”

Work experience offers young people valuable insights into the world of work, the ‘softer’ skills they need to pick up and help understanding their future options. Workfinder helps them take control and connect directly with employers, removing the need for reliance on family networks to connect to opportunities.

Founders4Schools announces Trustee appointments

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As we celebrate our third year as a charity, I am delighted to announce today that four new Trustees have chosen to join Founders4Schools, bringing the total on our Board to twelve. Mary Curnock Cook is our newest Trustee, together with Peter Gotham, Stephen Bolton and Jonathan Pearl who joined in May and June this year.

Their skills and expertise perfectly complement those of our other Trustees who generously give of their time to enable us to focus on and scale up positive career interactions for hundreds of thousands young people, in collaboration with educators, partners, parents, business leaders, local authorities and the students themselves.  

We couldn’t have reached 630,000 student-employer encounters (SEE’s), each of which has the potential to change the course of a life, without the expertise, counsel and energy of our dedicated board of Trustees F4S Executive Board

These SEE’s inspire young people by helping them understand what skills are needed to improve their employability and are particularly important for more marginalised young people who lack access to professional role models in their immediate environment.   


Mary_Curnock_Cook_3vsDfLL.2e16d0ba.fill-110x100Mary Curnock Cook has a deep understanding of the education sector, with an emphasis on young people who are under-represented or disadvantaged. Specifically, she will help F4S ensure we maintain quality in the services offered to students, at whatever their stage of education.

Mary was Chief Executive of UCAS from 2010 to 2017. Prior to that she was Director of Qualifications and Skills at the QCDA.

She now sits on The Open University Council, is a NED for The Student Loans Company and is a senior advisor to Cairneagle Associates. She chairs the Access Project, is a Trustee of multi-academy trust, United Learning and is on the Advisory Board of the Higher Education Policy Institute. She is also an investor/mentor to a number of EdTech startups.

Stephen_Bolton.2e16d0ba.fill-110x100Stephen Bolton is an experienced Finance Director with extensive knowledge of international markets gained by working for Unilever for over 20 years and for the past few years as Group Controller at Diageo plc. Specifically, his extensive knowledge of strategic finance and compliance to grow successful brands and businesses are invaluable to guiding the scaling ambitions of F4S.  

Stephen is also knowledgeable about the education market and has a passion for talent development. He is an honorary Doctor of Business at Solent University, where he sits on the Board of Governors.

Peter_Gotham.2e16d0ba.fill-110x100Peter Gotham brings extensive experience, having held leading roles in the formation and development of various housing and other organisations over 30 years. Specifically, his experience will help the charity to ensure services meet the needs of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

An accountant by training, Peter writes and lectures extensively, and has served on several national committees, including the national account setting (SORP) committee, at the Institute for Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and as a Visiting Fellow at the Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness at City University.

Jonathan_Pearl.2e16d0ba.fill-110x100Jonathan Pearl has a wealth of global experience having been Company Secretary for several international legal entities, most recently as a member of the Executive Management Teams of Sony Electronics in California and Sony Mobile Communications in Tokyo.

Specifically, his experience will help the charity to build global reach and guide on the regulatory environment both in the UK and elsewhere. He has a strong track record of growing successful companies, having been the first legal counsel for Apple in the UK.  

F4S offers over twenty different classroom and work experience services, which are easy for teachers to arrange and help young people steer their course through the future world of work.

We have ambitious plans to improve the life chances of many more young people, by giving them access to the inspiring decision makers in their community, and the new and deep skills that our new Trustees bring will help us to do this much faster.

Sherry Coutu, Executive Chair and Founder