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


More support for young people through Workfinder

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Founders4Schools are pleased to announce the ongoing work on our 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.

#NoWrongPath – celebrating every type of career journey

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In the midst of Scottish Results Day 2018, Founders4Schools are supporting DYW Glasgow’s #NoWrongPath campaign, celebrating the range and diversity of career paths that are followed after school. There may be some young people disheartened by their exam results today and alongside DYW we want to show them that there is #NoWrongPath in your career.

(click to enlarge images) 

Our mission is to inspire students and prepare them for the rapidly changing world of work:a big part of this job is showing young people that many of us have not necessarily taken a straight, obvious or traditional path to the job we’re in today. These winding and sometimes surprising routes are a normality in today’s evolving society and simply add to the richness of a workforce.

Here at Founders4Schools, our team’s career paths are a fantastic example of rich diversity and what it can bring. Our backgrounds include ex-teachers, an ex-army officer, someone who has worked in a nuclear reactor and someone who has launched a start-up! Our educational backgrounds are just as colourful: a neuroscience PhD, a masters in English Literature, an MBA and an IT apprenticeship. Pre Founders4Schools, our team members have worked in Russia, Australia, the USA, the UAE, Morocco, Denmark and Kenya.

These varied paths add to our strength as a team and we are proud that we can act as proof that there is #NoWrongPath! Wherever you look you will find surprises, and the unconventional routes that people have taken to achieve success are something to be celebrated. Vera Wang was a figure skater and journalist before entering the world of fashion at the age of 40.  Before launching Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post, Jonah Peretti was a computer science teacher. Famously, Arnold Schwarzenegger was a world champion bodybuilder in his 20s, an award-winning actor in his 30s, then became the Governor of California in 2003 at 56. You certainly never know where you might end up.

Occasionally, we all need to be reminded that there is #NoWrongPath to reach our goals and that we may just take an alternative route to get there! So we say thank you to DYW Glasgow for emphasising this positive message and sharing it with all the young people who should be celebrating today, whatever their results may be.

Thanks to our extended network that joined in to support this wonderful campaign:

Barclays Digital Development Index Report

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Our world is changing. The digital revolution is affecting us all, at home and at work. It offers new opportunities and greater choice, but is also disrupting the way we live our lives.

We want Britain to thrive in the digital economy. And we want to help British businesses to compete in the global marketplace. In response to this Barclays have produced this research which aims to understand how well prepared the UK workforce is for the digital economy.

Based on a survey of 10,000 working adults in 10 countries, it provides an international comparison of current levels of digital skills and confidence in emerging and developed economies, including some major economic rivals to the UK as well as new ‘Digital Tigers’ Estonia, South Korea and Sweden. The full report From Inclusion to Empowerment: The Barclays Digital Development Index includes insights and commentary from a range of leading experts and explores the steps needed to develop digital skills and confidence further across the UK.


Founders4Schools Annual Review 2016-2017

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The past year has been one of both consolidation and growth for Founders4Schools. Our services, which make it easy for educators to arrange encounters between their students and local business leaders, are becoming embedded into the lives of schools and young people.

Founders4Schools has now enabled over 80,000 young people to meet business leaders from their local communities, helping these young people better understand the world they will enter when they are older, and the jobs they might hold or create in the future. We now provide over twenty types of career or enterprise encounters and I’m pleased to have seen such strong take up of a growing range of new encounter types by our customers.

At the beginning of 2017, we announced that we would extend our encounters to help young people on the next step of their journey into work with the pilot of a work experience platform for those young people aged 16 to 24. This new service is called Workfinder which enables young people to obtain work experience placements with small and medium sized businesses in particular. I am hugely excited about the transformative effect this service could have for young people, making work experience about their hopes and ambitions, rather than family business connections.

Our strategy has always been to prioritise our resources to where they are most needed. Reaching young people in the Government’s 12 Opportunity Areas has been core to our activities, and the team and I have enjoyed visiting each of the opportunity areas over the past year.

We were approached by the Hunter Foundation and invited to expand our services into Scotland. It has been a joy working with the Scottish Government and seven Local Authorities in the past year, especially as the results are so pleasing in terms of the number of students now getting four high impact student-employer encounters.

The achievements of Founders4Schools rely on the involvement, enthusiasm and dedication of many people in our society. I want to thank: the educators who have embraced our services to enhance the life prospects of their students; the business leaders who have so generously given up their time to inspire and motivate young people; our Trustees and Advisors, whose support and guidance plays a huge part in the charity’s success; and the many individuals and grant making bodies who have helped to fund the services. Finally, I would like to thank Founders4Schools’ dedicated team of staff, who share my vision in making a fundamental difference to the career chances of young people.

2017-annual-review-thumbnail Download the 2017 Founders4Schools Annual Review

Now you can book 30 students for workplace visits

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Screen Shot 2016-10-05 at 15.09.06

Special thanks to two primary school teachers Harriet at Rhyl Primary School and Rosemary O’Brien at Torriano Primary School in Camden who got in touch to see if they could book workplace visits for groups of 30 students, rather than just 10.

The short answer is “yes”!

We’ve added a special new type of workplace visit just foryou.  Now, primary school teachers in Camden (and everywhere) can pull down a fourth type of event “Wpv30″ rather than Wpv10″, choose who you want to visit and voila, we do the rest for you.

Don’t worry if you are addicted to the WPV 10, a favourite of secondary school teachers helping students decide between academic subjects at Uni- so we’re not taking that away.

We are excited to help out primary school teachers of year 6 students with discovery visits as well.

Thank you again for letting us know how best to help you, we are here to help.

Bravo again to Harriet and Rosemary. Let us know how your visits go.

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F4S named Investor Allstars 2016 Charity of the Year

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Founders4Schools is honored to have been named as Charity of the Year at the Investor Allstars Awards 2016.

The charity was co-created by teachers, parents and the business leaders to solve the problem of youth employability.

The problem was articulated in The Economist, 23 Jan 2016 “1 Billion young people will start work in the next decade – only 40% in jobs that now exist”.  

F4S is delighted to have been recognised by the investment community for our mission is to improve the life chances of students by giving them access to inspiring business leaders in their own community who help them discover the skills and pathways that will be relevant when they leave education. This is especially crucial for children in homes where parents and guardians do not have work. 

Our nationwide service is free to schools and helps teachers to connect with 14,000 leaders of successful, growing businesses to invite them to visit their schools and inspire their students.

F4S is proud to have facilitated over 100,000 student-employer encounters which 94% of students said were inspiring to the point they would want another similar opportunity. 

With the kind support of donors it our aim to reach 1 million young people in the next year.

Foundeer4Schools Executive Chair, Sherry Coutu CBE, spoke at the Awards ceremony about the importance of extending insight about the world of work to all young people. Read her slides.



Founders4Schools first annual review published

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One year on, what have we achieved?

Click on the image to read the full Annual Review

Our first Annual Review sets out what we have achieved during our first year of operation. It describes how the charity is starting to ‘join the dots’ across the country by bringing together schools and colleges, employers and providers of careers and enterprise activities to give young people a better introduction to the world of work and a clearer understanding of what their future might hold.

Their enthusiastic response has meant that schools and colleges throughout the UK that will benefit from the 13,000 business leaders available to them so that young people in the UK are given a better sense of their skills and attitudes and help them identify the best path towards their future career.

The network of inspiring business volunteers across the country has continued to broaden over the past year, allowing the number of student-employer encounters facilitated by Founders4Schools to pass the 100,000 – an achievement that we believe is truly worth celebrating.

Although this review is a celebration of achievements from our first year of operation as a charity, it is also an opportunity to thank all our supporters, teachers, business leaders and partners who form the integral pieces that, together, will solve the puzzle of youth employability. It is their support that has enabled Founders4Schools to be a leader in the global movement to inspire today’s youth for tomorrow’s world of work.

Looking ahead to next year, I hope to increase the number of student-employer encounters from last year by tenfold. With foundations firmly laid, a focused and talented team on board, and having secured sponsorship from both Barclays and the Careers & Enterprise Company, I’m confident we’ll get there.

Read the Annual Review 

Raspberry Pi and the Importance of Technology Education

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This month the BBC announced that Raspberry Pi Sales reached 10 million in the British market. Raspberry Pi is a small, portable microcomputer widely used for programming education. Its low cost and portability have made it the most successful selling British Computer ever. Whereas before learning skills such as programming required relatively expensive hardware, now you can get a full kit for as low as low as 99 pounds.

This example highlights the importance of access to learning. Now students can learn skills as valuable as programming for a fraction of the cost. However, we need to raise awareness so that students can be introduced to these tools and taught how to use them. The Founders4Schools platform has a useful filter to select specifically inspirational business leaders in your area in industries including science, technology, and computing.

If you are a teacher who wishes to find a way to inspire pupils to use tools such as Raspberry pi to begin a path in technology, why not try bringing a business leader who can talk to them about the first steps in computing?

Given the importance of STEM skills in the years to come, initiatives such as Raspberry Pi and Founders4Schools can be very helpful to motivate students to follow this path. Founders4Schools believes that all students have the ability to learn and succeed, and the motivation of learning from business leaders can help do so.

9 ways to make Education fit for the 21st Century

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Bildschirmfoto 2016-09-23 um 12.55.12The world that children will find when they join the workforce will be very different from ours today – in fact, 40% of the jobs that they will aspire to have not been created yet! Education is the key to preparing students for the world of work, and a recent WEF article highlights 9 ways we can transform our system.

  • Provide a compelling vision of the future
  • Set ambitious goals that force innovation
  • Create choice and competition
  • Pick many winners
  • Benchmark and track progress
  • Evaluate and share the performance of new innovations
  • Pair greater accountability with autonomy
  • Invest in and empower agents of change
  • Reward success and productive failure

Founders4Schools can help prepare students for the future, today! By inviting local business leaders to your school, students will be able to hear from employers themselves and find out which skill sets to build the careers of the future.