Wayra and Workfinder unite to ignite a movement for change.

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At the start of London Tech Week (Monday, 10 June 2019), with the rain thundering down outside and a packed political agenda, we were thrilled that so many came to the launch of Wayra’s project at the House of Commons yesterday, to help emerging businesses get great talent by connecting students to the rising tech and start-up scene.

And we are delighted that Wayra has chosen Workfinder as the platform of choice to do that. Through the sheer power of Wayra, 100  of leaders in their network signed up in just 100 hours. Wow!

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From left to right: Charlie Blair, Daniel Lesnick, George Imafidon, Sherry Coutu, CBE, Tim Campbell, MBE, Vin Murria, CBE and Gary Stewart,   Managing Director of Wayra.

Wayra is a pioneering corporate accelerator at the heartbeat of the tech ecosystem. It is democratising entrepreneurship across the UK, by providing unparalleled access to networks and capital that turns      start-ups into scale-ups whilst ensuring their cohorts reflect true              diversity. We share those ambitions at Workfinder – we want to truly democratise work experience for young people; even in the 21st Century, nepotism is pushing out those most in need of a mentor to ignite their passion.

So, together, we are on a mission to help young people, particularly those furthest from the job market, to transition into the world of work.

The amazing Wayra community, in partnership with UEL, responded to our call for meaningful placements of 3-6 weeks, or even more, with ONE HUNDRED signing up within hours. By meaningful, we mean          placements where the undergraduate student learns through support on specific tasks and projects. To make it easy, Workfinder maps and      manages the placement from start to finish, helping leaders find talent and guiding on formats for projects that work well based on past experience.

Our Founder, Sherry Coutu, CBE said at the launch: “Our vision at Workfinder is that 100% of employees from the UK’s most ambitious companies host pre-career work placements for the next generation. The host employees get a great leadership opportunity and the young person can explore the future of their working world on their terms.

“We are thrilled to be working with Wayra on our mission to get 100% of young people 100 hours of work experience per year, that is 100% satisfactory.”

Also at the launch were a distinguished panel of entrepreneurs,              including the first-time winner of the Apprentice, Tim Campbell, who told their very personal stories of how in different ways they changed the course of their lives through hard work, focusing on what they love to do, and the support of a trusted mentor who helped them make it happen.

In her advice to business, Vin Murria, CBE, said: “Pass it forward. Think up three good things to show [these young people] a different path – something they wouldn’t see in their normal course of life.”

Gary Stewart, Managing Director of Wayra, added: “We are calling for less talk and more action when it comes to bringing under-represented groups into the UK’s tech ecosystem. Wayra will work with Workfinder and other partners to ignite a movement to bring equality of                opportunity to British tech.”

The launch was attended by many influential guests, including Helen Grant MP and Anne Milton MP. Anne Milton MP, Minister of State for Skills and Apprenticeships, highlighted the work the Government is doing for Apprenticeships and the central role that work experience will have for the new T Levels, which start next year. She highlighted the      vital role of business to make these initiatives successful.    

So, there’s more to do – and sign-ups are OPEN… so please do add your support!

Workfinder has been made possible through the support of partners and funding from the Social Tech Trust, whose vision is for social              transformation to drive tech.  The Trust explores the social issues where tech can transform lives, then invests in and partners with,                      organisations who can make that change happen. Further funding has been provided by Fidelity, WCIT and UFI Charitable Trust.    

 

Workfinder and Debate Mate unite to prove Work Experience is NOT a waste of time!

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At the London Tech Week Opening Dinner on Monday evening (10 June 2019), in the shadows of the historic Tower of London – built some six centuries before Babbage’s Analytical Engine – and in the presence of Tech pioneers, we were enthralled by the debating prowess of three rising stars who gave us a unique perspective on WHY WORK              EXPERIENCE MATTERS.

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The London Tech Week Opening Dinner at the Tower of London, where funds were raised for this years’ nominated charity, Founders4Schools.  

And we were delighted to announce that Workfinder and Debate Mate have joined forces to help hundreds more young people across Britain by introducing them to the power of Workfinder, with further              collaborations planned.

Debate Mate was founded to overcome social immobility amongst young people aged 9-18, from disadvantaged backgrounds across Britain –    typically those attending challenging inner-city schools and living in areas of high child poverty. They run after-school debate clubs for        students, using their unique mentoring model, which helps develop key skills including critical and creative thinking, strategic teamwork, public speaking, active listening and leadership.

At Workfinder, we call these employability skills, and agree they are    critical to help a smoother transition into the world of work, especially for those living in more disadvantaged areas who don’t have parental networks to rely on. We understand that, even when given opportunity, without confidence it is impossible to make dreams fly.

Working with Debate Mate, we are on a mission to help young people    become well-rounded energised individuals with an interest in the world around them.  

To mark the announcement, Margaret McCabe, CEO & Founder,          Debate Mate said: “We are very excited to launch our partnership with Workfinder. As a social business, Debate Mate works with thousands of exceptional young people across the UK, as well as with the world’s most exciting and innovative companies.

“It’s great that we can combine and harness our experience of both and use the power of Workfinder to create meaningful opportunities that will revolutionise the way people view work experience for good.”

We saw this for ourselves on Monday evening when, in front of a crowd of several hundred, students Khadija Said and Adam Noble debated the thorny topic ‘Work Experience is a waste of time’ (at this point, we were nervous on several levels!).

Khadija argued that when it just involves menial tasks, work experience can have the undesired effect of de-motivating young people, perhaps even making them critical of your business in your local community! Adam countered with several good points, including that, experiences you don’t like can be good too because they help you understand what you DON’T want to do.

Ayman Ahmed then joined Sherry on the couch and talked about the various placements he has taken over the course of several week, and how it felt to become embedded in a business and really understand how they work.   

Workfinder Founder, Sherry Coutu, CBE added: “We are thrilled to be working with Debate Mate on our mission to get 100% of young people 100 hours of work experience per year, that is 100% satisfactory.

“I was hugely impressed by the articulate and confident way in which Khadija, Adam and Ayman made their arguments – and very pleased that we all agreed that Work Experience is valuable, but only if made meaningful. We couldn’t agree more!”

Workfinder has been made possible through the support of partners and funding from the Social Tech Trust, whose vision is for social            transformation to drive tech.  The Trust explores the social issues where tech can transform lives, then invests in and partners with,                     organisations who can make that change happen. Additional funding has been provided by Fidelity, WCIT and UFI Charitable Trust.    

Please sign up to offer Work Experience HERE