A year in review (f4s)

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1 Jan 2017

Dear F4S Stakeholders,

As I look back on 2016, I wanted to share with you my reflections on our progress to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds become more employable.

To date, founders4schools has facilitated 44,000 students connecting with employers to help students better understand the world they will enter when they are older and the jobs they might hold or create in the future.  The briefings we share with the employers prior to these student-employer encounters ensures that they impart how moments of choice influence the lives that the students will lead in coming years.

The impact of student-employer encounters is well known: research has shown that students who have 4 student-employer encounters are 5 times less likely to become NEET and 3 times more likely to choose a STEM subject.

As you may know, founders4Schools began in 2011 as a service extension of Silicon Valley Comes to the UK.  Once the depth of the skills crisis became apparent and the impact student-employer encounters had, we worked with teachers, parents and leaders of the business community to create a solution that addressed the problem of youth employability at scale. In June 2013 we released our ‘beta’ platform that enabled teachers to create in-class student-employer encounters in the same amount of time it took them to order a book from amazon or groceries from tesco.  In 2015, we created a charity by spinning out the project from ‘Silicon Valley comes to the UK and today, our Trustees, work in collaboration with Partners to capture the imagination of young people that gives them the confidence and skills to create the innovations that will define our future.  In 2016 we provided services to educators, business leaders, local government, and corporate supporters.  In 2017, we will improve upon the services that work well, discontinue those that don’t and introduce services for students for the first time.

Services for educators:

Today we are blessed that teachers in schools in 30 of 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships in the UK use f4s search services to find leaders from their local business community in order to arrange a wide variety of student-employer encounters.

  • We provide teachers who arrange student-employer encounters with a “teacher account dashboard” to help keep track of their encounters over time.

  • We assist teachers who arrange Student-Employer Encounters by 

    • Briefing the employers on their behalf

    • Sending them Alerts whenever a business leader accepts their invitation

    • Preparing a ‘Guest visitor briefing’ for them to send to the school office

    • Surveying them once the encounters have taken place, to see what they thought of the guests.  If a teacher feels a guest they sourced over our services to be ‘needing improvement’, we remove that leader from appearing in future search results. 

  • Teachers who have registered to receive our (weekly) teacher briefings enjoy peer insights from other teachers about how best to inspire students to make the best choices with regards to subjects and activities. 

  • The teacher toolkit on our web-site provides a rich treasure-trove of student-employer encounter videos, lesson-plans and case-studies teachers have shared with us to make available to their peers, 

  • Our headteacher briefings provide valuable insights as to how other schools approach careers talks, work experience, enterprise days and teacher training with regards to employability. 

In 2017, teachers who have arranged student-employer encounters with us, will receive personalised recommendations of encounters they might consider arranging based on our local labour market insights.

Services for local government

  • Our (quarterly) employability reports provide those who lead local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnership with research as to how other communities are tackling the skills gap so they can benchmark their own progress. 

  • Our monthly CEC webinars provide CEC coordinators and Enterprise Advisors with personalized employability recommendations of how to improve the employability of students in that community.  These are currently funded to July 2017 via the Careers & Enterprise Company.

  • Our alert services provides alerts to subscribers so they know whenever an employability event has been arranged to take place in the geographic area.

Services for corporate supporters

  • Our partner insight services provides personalized student-employer encounter impact analyses on a real-time basis to our partners.

  • Our (monthly) partner e-briefings shares insights about how teachers and partners in our network are tackling the skills-gap. 

  • Our employee-engagement services for large corporates are in beta at the moment and under review.  If you’d like to know more, let us know. 

Services for business leaders who volunteer their time to students

  • Our (monthly) business leader briefings provide insights to our volunteers on the impact of f4s-powered student-employer encounters and insights into what works best.  We also highlight research (from others) as to what types of encounters work best for certain age groups for tackling the skills gap which they suffer from as employers.

  • Our personalized business leader event briefings provide business leaders with guidance as to how best to tailor their encounter with the students in order to inspire them.

  • Our personalized business leader “account dashboard” makes it easy for business leaders to keep track of the student-employer encounters they have agreed to over time.

  • We also share with them event feedback from the survey we conducted with the teacher immediately after their encounter.

I remain in awe of the extent to which the business community generously gives their time when asked to do so for the employability of students in their communities and hope to host an awards ceremony that recognizes the contribution they are making along with a new employer insight reporting service dedicated to the business leaders who do the most in their communities.

I would like to thank the following partners for their continued support of our mission: Barclays, The Hunter Foundation, CEC, Hugh Campbell of GP Bullhound, LinkedIn, Postcode Anywhere, DueDil, Salesforce, BBC, Goldman Sachs, In Kind Direct, JP Morgan and Digital Catapult. Their support is critical to our success and on behalf of the team I am very grateful.

Looking forward to 2017, we intend to make improvements to the services we provide to educators, local government, partners as well as introduce work placement services for students for the first time.

Best wishes,

Sherry Coutu CBE

F4S Student-Employer Encounters

As of the 1 January 2017, F4S had facilitated more than 127,000 student-employer encounters.  The following pages summarise key questions asked by stakeholders:

  1. What age are the students who benefit from the student-employer encounters arranged by teachers using F4s?

  2. What type of student-employer encounters are usually arranged by teachers using F4s?

  3. Which cities are the heaviest users of F4S services?

  4. Are teachers in the greatest areas of need using services like F4S?

  5. What schools are using F4S services the most?

  6. Which encounter type makes the most difference to student outcomes?

Student-employer encounters: Distribution by Age of Student 

  • We are pleased with the age distribution which means that our concentration on ensuring students meet business leaders when they are facing their key moments of choice is working.

  • The pie chart on the left shows that the encounters teachers arranged span primary and secondary age students from 8 to 18 years old.

  • The most student-employer encounters have taken place with 14 to 16 year olds. The Stacked bar-chart on the right shows a trend towards encounters being arranged for 15 and 16 year-old students which is in line with the current curricular guidance and our own business development that concentrated on partnerships focused on secondary school students.  In 2017, we hope to release impact analyses that enable us to guide teachers as to the best term to arrange career talks, work place visits, work experience and enterprise days and the best age for these types of encounters.

Student-employer encounters: Distribution by Type of Encounter:

Teachers can arrange ‘in-class, whole-school or ‘at workplace’ encounters over our service: In class services have been available over our platform since 2013 and we introduced ‘whole ‘school’ services early in 2016 and ‘at workplace’ services in late 2016.

In terms of “in-class services”, the following encounter-types are available:

  • career learning co-delivered by teachers and employers (Introduced April 2016)

  • careers talks (since inception)

  • curriculum learning co-delivered by teachers and employers (introduced April 2016)

  • cv workshops (introduced Nov 2016)

  • employer delivered employability skills workshops (since inception)

  • enterprise activities (since inception)

  • mock interviews (since inception)

  • employer mentoring (introduced Nov 2016)

  • enterprise competitions (since inception)

In terms of “whole-school services”, the following encounter-types are now available:

  • careers fairs (introduced Jan 2016)

  • careers talks (since inception)

In terms of “at workplace services”, the following encounter-types are now available:

  • work place visits (introduced June 2016)

  • 1-2 week work experience (introduced Jan 2017)

From 2017, we will introduce impact reporting by encounter type as a result of a major upgrade that we were able to make because of a grant from the Careers & Enterprise Company.

Student-employer encounters: Distribution by Geography: 

We are pleased that teachers are arranging student-employer encounters throughout the UK.

As at 1 Jan 2017, Cambridge, London, and Thames Valley Berkshire lead the student-employer league tables with 112, 58 and 49 student employer encounters per 1000 students.  We aspire to 4000 student-employer encounters per 1000 student population, but remain very far away from that goal.

Employability reports by LEP were made possible due to a grant we received from the Careers and Employment Company.

Student-employer encounters:  Distribution by Need:

We recognise that some young people have a greater need for career support than others.This may be because they lack the family networks that can support their career aspirations, because they are not doing very well at school or because they are struggling to find opportunities in the area in which they live.

We think it is important that career support is channelled to those who need it and to where it can make the most difference.

This section sets out our report of where career support is most needed. We have used existing data to look at this and to identify the areas that CEC refers to as cold spots. We will use this analysis to inform the strategy of founders4schools and to guide the direction of our resources.

The figure below, which is accurate as of 1 Jan 2017, shows that there is a significant amount of effort being made in the areas of greatest need, but it also shows that there is more work to be done: It is heartening to see that for every LEP in each CEC category of need we have examples of high adopters to match those that do not use our services.

We will work with partners to address the ten LEPs in the greatest area of need with the least student-employerencounters in 2017.

Local Enterprise Partnership Areas with the greatest need:

Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (7/0)| The Marches (5/0)  | Worcester (5/0) | Tees Valley (5/2) |  Liverpool (5/2.5) |  Stoke on Trent (4/0) |  Leicester (4/1.4) |  South East Midlands (4/4.3) |  Solent (4/5.2) |  Leeds (4/6.5) |  York and North Yorkshire (4/7.8) |  Sheffield (4/8.6)

Student-employer encounters: Innovation by Schools

We are grateful to the hundreds of teachers who use our services in innovative ways to further the employability of their students and it is difficult to highlight one over the other.  Having said that, these teachers stand out in particular for their pioneering efforts that we believe to be of particularly high impact: What will the students want to do when they grow up and what subjects they will choose in order to get there? We are certain that his drawing on local businesses will make a huge difference to the paths students take and we look forward to reporting to you the impact as soon as the analyses are complete.

In-Class: Career Talks

Paul Butterworth from West Hill School, near Manchester.

With 4480 student-employer encounters to his name so far, Paul leads the way on arranging 7 times more encounters with business leaders than the national average.

In-Class: Mentoring

Diarmuid Molloy,  from UCL Academy in London.

Diarmuid pioneered an employer mentoring programme at UTC to give 12-18 years old students the opportunity to work in teams with employers on real projects.

In-Class: Diversity

Diarmuid also pioneered using female business leaders with STEM backgrounds in to help his students explore study and career paths. We encourage all teachers to follow his lead in March  during women-in-stem week

In-Class: Curriculum

Richard Northover, from Holland Park School in London.

Richard pioneered integrating business leaders into the school day by substituting traditional tutor time activities with talks from role models in order to raise the aspirations of his 16 and 17 year old Year 11 students. He also arranges business leaders to speak to large groups of age 13, 14, & 15 students in Year 9 and Year 10.

At-Workplace: Secondary
Dawn Woodcock from Tottenham UTC, in London.

Dawn is our leading example of how teachers use Workplace Visits to give her age 16 to 18 students a sense of what kind of work their degree might lead to.  We particularly like her “Computer Science UCAS Visits” for students considering Computer Science at University.

At-Workplace: Primary
Rosemary O’Brien from Torriano Primary School in London.

Rosemary is our leading example of how primary school teachers use Workplace Visits to give her age 10 and 11 year old students a sense of high impact careers in growth sectors that will be relevant when they leave education.


Careers Fairs

Beckie Knight-Croft from Bexleyheath Academy in, London.

Beckie pioneered careers fairs that feature speed-networking in small groups. 12 to 15 year old students encounter 10 employersper hour.

Student-employer encounters: Distribution by Type & Impact

We are excited to be working with Cambridge Assessment and the Careers and Enterprise company to help ascertain the impact of student employer encounters by type in 2017.  This workstream was originally funded by the Nominet Trust and we are very excited about sharing the outcomes as they emerge because it will allow us to further refine the teacher briefings we make and the personalised recommendations we make to teachers and students regarding their next encounter.

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