F4S Response to the Industrial Strategy White Paper

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Earlier this year, with your help, Founders4Schools submitted a detailed response to the Government Green Paper Building our Industrial Strategy. Yesterday (27 November 2017) the Industrial Strategy White Paper was published, and I am delighted that many of the areas we highlighted as key components of a purposeful growth plan have been picked up and investment promised.

Founders4Schools welcomes the Industrial Strategy, signalling a Fourth Industrial Revolution ‘characterised by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological worlds.’


  • The focus on skills, productivity and R&D, which includes the harnessing of AI and big data;
  • The commitment to partnerships across business and government that scale up the technical skills we need for job creation – for this generation, and the next;
  • The announcement of significant investments over the next few years. We would argue that the release of funds should come sooner rather than later to enable technology to start to deliver on the promise.

In recent weeks the Prime Minister and Chancellor have stressed their commitment to supporting the UK’s world-class tech sector.  I am particularly encouraged by the focus in the Industrial Strategy on helping young people to do the newly-skilled jobs of the future; creating the conditions for young people to grow successful businesses, and for the opportunity for partnerships between government and industry that will harness AI and big data to solve our biggest challenges.

Our vision at Founders4Schools is singularly focused on the career prospects of our young people. We want to enable a generation of entrepreneurial thinkers with relevant skills who can raise productivity, at a time when our nation faces into the biggest socio-economic re-think for generations. All new jobs are coming from companies less than four years old and this is set to continue. Our insight is that better results come from connecting young people with business leaders in the local community.

We particularly welcome the Grand Challenge of putting the UK at the forefront of the artificial intelligence and the data revolution, and look forward to engaging with the Business Champions and external advisors who will be appointed in early 2018 to lead this thinking. We welcome the profile that AI and machine learning has achieved and the recognition of their role in transforming business models across sectors by identifying better ways to do complex tasks.

The Industrial Strategy has much good news for the digital sector. We welcome the additional £725m funding available through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to maximise the value of innovative ideas being developed, and the opportunity to launch an expression of interest in 2018. Also, the additional £44m of grant funding from Innovate UK, and the £10m Regulators’ Pioneer Fund to support the development of innovative approaches to emerging technologies. The drive to foster, attract and retain the best and brightest research talent through Turing Fellowships, PhDs and Master level qualifications is good news, as is the announcement for an industry-led AI Council that can take a leadership role across sectors, working in partnership with the new Gov-Tech Catalyst and would welcome the expansion of their remit to include education.

There are enormous opportunities for these initiatives in the education space. At Founders4Schools we have integrated information sources and AI technologies successfully to make recommendations to educators, so they can arrange student-employer encounters based on their preferred criteria in just minutes.

In our response to the Green Paper we called for the release of LEO, HMRC and NPD datasets to allow us to scale quickly and build a picture of the future labour market and enable schools to move more quickly through Gatsby benchmarks for career guidance.  We look forward to sharing learnings and support the setting of standards to ensure the secure, trusted use of data.

We note that 40% of employers reported a lack of STEM graduates: – According to the Scale-Up Institute, 90% of scaleup businesses are concerned about a lack of skills post-Brexit. We know that when business leaders, particularly women, take part in Student-Employer interactions – of which we have now facilitated over 250,000 – likelihood of them taking up STEM subjects increases threefold and 86% are less likely to become NEET.

We are delighted the Government has recognised the vital importance of Skills within the Industrial Strategy. We welcome the investment of an additional £406 million in maths, digital and technical skills (with an extra £40m to train maths teachers) including £84 million over the next five years to upskill 8,000 computer science teachers by the end of this Parliament. We also welcome the new National Centre for Computing Education, and the recognition that the UK’s world-class creative industries are growing at twice the rate of the economy and are heavily reliant on STEM skills.

As mentioned above, we believe we can help the Government to ‘deepen the understanding of the gender disparity in STEM subject choices at ages 16 to 19’, if data regarding STEM subjects is released, by institution and subject. Also interesting are plans to explore (building on the work of the Skills Advisory Panels and local Digital Skills Partnerships in England) how data analytics can be used to improve our understanding of employer demand for skills.

At Founders4Schools, we can combine many of these objectives. By sharing National Pupil’s Database (NPD) data via an API, we can unlock information about local jobs that specifically require STEM skills and help teachers to provide critical feedback to share with everyone about what works.

As we said in our initial response, the introduction of new T Levels from 2020 is a great step forward, with the commitment of putting technical education on the same footing as our academic system. We welcome the additional £20m investment announced in the Budget Statement last week. T Levels will give young people more options, with structured programmes including work experience which will help them take advantage of new prospects, particularly in deprived areas. Further, the commitment to addressing employer and student needs and expectations through the creation of a new regulator, the Office for Students (OfS) is a step forward.

We also recognise the value created by the investments in the new Institute of Coding, the Ada, National College for Digital Skills and new digital platforms to expand the reach of STEM Ambassador and CREST Awards programmes.

But many teachers, as well as their students, need to upgrade their digital skills, so F4S welcomes the establishment of a National Retraining Scheme to help people re-skill and up-skill as the economy changes. Also, the investment of £30m to test the use of AI and innovative education technology (EdTEch) in online digital skills courses.

We agree that ‘our problem is not unemployment caused by technology, it is low earning power caused by the, among other reasons, a failure to use technology’. Our focus is on helping teachers to become more digital and therefore help their students become more productive.

EdTech offers the ideal solution for this and we have proposed a new coalition for careers education in schools by creating a digital toolkit and guidance that will enable up to 500,000 educators across the UK working in primary education, to feel more confident about understanding and preparing their students for the world of work.

We welcome the Government’s significant investment into R&D that has commercial application and so has a bearing on productivity. Our leadership in the 2017 European Innovation Scorecard is impressive.  We would argue that significant investment is taking place by the forward-thinking business leaders to who come to speak on our behalf in schools. But these growing businesses need support to grow.

At Founders 4 Schools, we agree with the need to ensure that the national system works across the country, making a real difference in areas of most need. We focus our services in the Government’s Opportunity Areas, where we aim to address regional disparities and break down barriers that widen socio-economic divides that increase young people in NEET categories and reduce their chances for further education. We work closely with devolved government, LEP’s and the Careers and Enterprise Company, as well with business leaders in these areas.

We therefore welcome the investment of £72m in the Opportunity Areas programme and £42m to pilot a Teacher Development Premium, allowing for high quality professional development for teachers in areas that have fallen behind. We also look forward to seeing the Local Industrial Strategies emerge, and can work with Government to identify how the greater access to technical education in these areas can help raise employability skills.

Our approach is one of partnership – between educators, businesses, local government, devolved administrations – to achieve goals. We believe this is the only way to achieve the kind of scale we need to up-skill young people and prepare them for the world of work. The launch of Workfinder – our mobile app to connect 16-18 year-olds with work experience in their local area is just one example, and we welcome the Government’s focus on helping to increase the number of students who undertake work experience to develop their professional skills and ways of accrediting work experience in degrees.

There is an urgent need to accelerate the transformation, or we will leave a generation behind while we figure out what to do next. Many of us are already making substantive progress. The Industrial Strategy provides an excellent framework for progress, if the Government directs and releases finances for us NOW to move ahead and deliver. We want to continue to be part of that change that improves living standards and economic growth across the country

Sixteen-year-old girl who inspired Workfinder app opens doors for thousands of young women in Newcastle

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  • New ‘Trip Advisor’ style App connects students to work experience in less than 5 minutes;
  • Newcastle to benefit from up to 5,000 work experience scholarships for 16-18 year-old women to work in digital companies and charities;
  • Funded by £200k investment from social tech investor, Nominet Trust;
  • Preparing girls for jobs of the future the ‘challenge of a generation’.


NEWCASTLE, UK – 29 November 2017: Gov-tech education charity Founders4Schools (F4S), whose mission is to connect inspiring business leaders with schools, has today announced the creation of a scholarship fund to benefit thousands of young women across Newcastle with work experience opportunities. These roles are on offer to girls aged 16 to 18, as the charity puts powerful tools into the hands of girls looking for work experience in the city’s thriving digital sector.

The placements will be available through F4S’ ground-breaking mobile-phone app Workfinder, which was inspired by sixteen-year-old Maitri Panchal while she was on work experience with the charity herself. Workfinder enables young people to filter preferences, share recommendations and connect with great companies in as little as five minutes.

The opportunities are offered in fast-growing digital and tech Newcastle businesses, including NRG, printed.com and hedgehog lab. They help young people unlock their potential and kick- start their careers using STEM skills. The Newcastle scholarships for girls have been made possible through funding from social tech investors Nominet Trust, amongst others.

Speaking at a Founders4Schools event: Future Forward: Connecting Young People to the Future World of Work at the Boiler Shop, Newcastle today, Sherry Coutu, CBE, Chair of Founders4Schools and The ScaleUp Institute, said: “The current work experience model is broken. According to the ScaleUp Institute, 90% of UK scaleup businesses are concerned about a lack of skills post-Brexit but existing structures do not allow UK plc. to foster home- grown skills.”

Work Experience helps young people grow their skills and businesses benefit from much needed talent, but the reliance on informal networks means that many pupils in deprived areas secured no work experience at all last year. During November, UK digital businesses have come together to pledge to offer, via Workfinder, week-long work-experience placements that are needed by the 1.8 million 16-18 year-old students in UK schools.
Sherry Coutu continued: “93% of teachers say that work experience boosts student attainment and aspirations. Great companies are learning environments and need talent to grow; young people need help to find their passion in life. It’s the challenge of a generation, and I hope Workfinder will give them the power to discover their route to a meaningful career.”
Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust added: “Nominet Trust’s purpose is to transform lives with tech – but that’s only possible if we give the next generation, regardless of their background and circumstance, the opportunity to develop digital skills. We’re excited about continuing our partnership with Founders4Schools by funding 5,000 placements available through Workfinder in major UK cities, because of the opportunity it gives to young women to develop careers in STEM subjects, boosting their contribution to the UK’s growing digital economy.”

Sam Mcloughlin, Business Engagement Manager, Studio West, said: “We guarantee our students aged 16 and over two days a week of work experience with companies in the Newcastle area. I have seen countless times the dramatic impact this has on young people. When they return, students tell us they are inspired and have confidence to pursue a career they may not have known existed before. The opportunities Founders4Schools is opening up are vital and Workfinder makes it easier than ever before to help students connect their learning to the world of work.”
Simone Roche, Founder, Northern Power Women, said “I welcome this brilliant initiative to give young women in Newcastle the opportunity to grow their skills. For the whole region it’s vital that we grow our talent base and foster gender equality. I urge others to also support the work Founders4Schools are doing.”

Lauren Garey, Chair of Founders4Schools’ Diversity Advisory Committee, added: “It’s critical that businesses work with young talent to address the gender imbalance within the technology sector. One of our partners, Martha Lane Fox at Dot Everyone, recently stated that the technology sector accounts for 67% of women-led businesses in the UK, but women currently occupy only 17% of technology jobs and 4% of software engineering jobs. Providing work experience and first-hand experience to STEM careers will help to ensure that our future leaders, investors and entrepreneurs come from the widest pool of diverse talent.

Therese Liddle, CEO, NRG, said: “As a leading recruitment agency in the North East, NRG are delighted to support Founders4Schools. We have strong partnerships with companies across all sectors and know that, while many are already supporting young people, many more would appreciate the opportunity to do so. Fostering the skills and talents of the upcoming generation is critical to our wider economic and social success and we believe that Workfinder is a brilliant platform to create that vital link between education, business and young people.”

Catherine Boland, HR Manager, printed.com, said: “Offering work experience produces great benefits to the business as well as students and I would encourage other companies to do it. We have developed a programme that is meaningful and in the process, we reflect on our own organisation and the skills we look for in future talent. Plus, employee engagement is boosted as teams enjoy being involved and value supporting the local community.”

Workfinder can be downloaded by students to connect to these and other work experience opportunities free of charge from the app store.

Teachers can find out about Workfinder here: http://bit.ly/2iXg6Ks. Parents can find out about Workfinder here: https://www.workfinder.com/

Businesses willing to host work experience at their companies can sign up here: https://www.workfinder.com/employer/pledge

State of the Nation 2017: Careers and Enterprise Provision in England’s Schools

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By Sherry Coutu, CBE

Times have never been more challenging for educators, who have been tasked to transition the academic assessment of young people while keeping an eye on their prospects beyond school, at this critical point in the UK’s history. It would be easy for adequate careers provision to fall down the gap, but in truth hundreds of schools across England and Scotland are making significant efforts to improve careers and enterprise provision.

The recent report from the Careers and Enterprise Company:  State of the Nation 2017: Careers and Enterprise Provision in England’s Schools, is a welcome contribution to the debate about how we equip our young people for the world of work. The CEC have built on the 2014 research published by Sir John Holman in Good Career Guidance (2014) and allowed us to see schools’ progress against the standards set by Gatsby Benchmarks since then.

At Founders4Schools, we understand the challenge, having worked with more than 500 teachers, schools and businesses and brokered requests for over 250,000 student-employer encounters for 100,000 students to date.

Our mission is to ensure every young person gets encounters with employers each year, while they are between the ages of 8 and 16, and 140 hours of work experience while they are between the ages of 16 and 24.

Our services, which take just minutes to set up, include a wide range of employer engagement activities such as careers talks, careers fairs, work shadowing days, employability programmes and work experience. We work with partners including Department for Education, Careers and Enterprise Company, LEPs and enterprises such as LinkedIn and Duedil to help schools meet requirements quickly and easily.

No other provider makes it as easy for educators to subscribe to twenty-three diverse types of student-employer encounter and our personalised guidance builds upon research commissioned by the Royal Society, Education Endowment Foundation as well as the CEC.

So, why is it so important to connect young people with business leaders? 100% of net new jobs in the economy come from companies less than 4 years old….just the scaleups that our services are set up to reach. Bringing these founders into schools and encouraging them to offer work placements locally, makes perfect sense.

94% of students who have met business leaders via F4S tell us they are inspired, and their teachers report they are three times more likely to go on to consider studying a STEM subjects that will give them critical science, engineering and technology skills. This could help close the gap in skills shortages that the Open University reports are costing UK businesses £2bn a year, and re-assure the 40% of businesses who are concerned about a lack of skills post-Brexit (IoD).

I’m a strong believer in the standardisation that the Gatsby Benchmarks bring to delivering achievable standards of schools’ careers and enterprise provision, and the consistency with which they are used provides an excellent foundation for planning and measuring performance. In fact, we have mapped F4S services to Gatsby benchmarks to help schools edge closer to fully reach more benchmarks as part of a planned programme of activity.

For example, we provide personalised guidance based on the latest research in careers and enterprise (personal guidance benchmark), have a mission to get every pupil in the UK to four annual employer-encounters (encounters with employers & employees) and our advanced filtering system allows educators to choose speakers best suited to inspire their pupils (addressing the needs of each pupil).

The CEC report is encouraging in showing that, of those schools that completed the survey, more are achieving more benchmarks compared to 2014. The excellent Compass tracking tool that CEC employs also found that there is no statistically significant relationship between the characteristics of the school or the labour market in which it is situated, and the number of Benchmarks achieved. This is great as it demonstrates the true universality of Gatsby Benchmarks in enabling a level playing field between schools in challenging circumstances and more advantaged schools.

But my big concern is that we are not moving fast enough and so will let down a generation of young people, as well as the growing base of potential employers who need a new skills base to emerge, at this crucial time. Work we have done in Stirling this year has demonstrated a significant uplift to nearly 800 Student-Employer Encounters (SEE’s) per 1,000 students (surpassing every local authority in the UK) due to the collaboration and leadership provided by the local council and by the provision of a workshop for headteachers which got them directly involved.

Only by working at the most senior levels within schools did we unlock resistance by helping them understand how with just a little investment of time we can create great outcomes for young people and significantly improve Ofsted results around effective careers provision at the same time.

cumulative SEE's per 1000 Students

It is clear from the CEC Report that most schools are not reporting in Compass. Progress is being made, but it is disappointing that even those who are reporting show that over 20% of schools are not achieving any Benchmarks at all.

At F4S we are working with the CEC to help with:

    • Guides for head teachers to demonstrate what works and offer local insight reports;
    • An Insight report based on the Gatsby Benchmarks that can celebrate each school as it ‘moves up a level’, and help guide those who need help to progress;


  • Ways to enable us to feed results from schools that work with us directly into Compass and so make reporting easier.

F4S can embed employer feedback of encounters in our Teacher Dashboard. We provide clear guidance on which encounter types to book and when, using algorithms to recommend the most impactful encounter types in the local jobs market to enhance the combination of encounters that young people under their care receive. We want to scale this to enable educators to achieve more Gatsby Benchmarks, and be able to track students’ experience in the process.

So, how can schools embed a successful careers strategy? The Careers and Enterprise Company report highlights success factors from schools that do it brilliantly:

    • A careers programme must be fully embedded within the school;
    • Educators need to draw on a wide range of employer engagement activities, including careers talks, careers fairs, work shadowing days, employability programmes, work experience;
    • Access to local careers information is critical. F4S makes real-time local market information easily available to help students understand where their passions lie and connect them with the most relevant local employers;


  • Meeting with universities, colleges and apprenticeship providers is helpful. This should extend to new Institutes of Technology;


    • Personal guidance from a dedicated head of careers. Working with a committed ambassador within the local authority has proved very powerful for getting things moving, and maintaining momentum;
    • The work of the Enterprise Advisor Network is vital in connecting valuable services to schools;


  • The use of tools, such as Kudos, can connect careers education through a range of subjects and help all staff to become more involved in the careers programme, gaining CPD points along the way;


  • The opportunity to serve up work experience placements for older students is crucial. We developed Workfinder, our work experience app, as a service to that allows young people to not only rate work experience but to discover local opportunities, right there in their pockets.

We can help support schools in all these ways, and so build your schools’ success in relation to the Gatsby Benchmarks.

Sherry Coutu, CBE

Founders4Schools Chairman Sherry Coutu CBE Joins Sky News To Discuss The Talent Crisis

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Founders4Schools Founder and Chairman Sherry Coutu CBE today discussed the growing skills crisis with Sky News presenters Sarah Jane Mee and Jonathan Samuels.

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Sherry discussed the importance of offering meaningful work placements to create a talent pipeline and announced the launch of Workfinder, which will connect great, growing companies across the country with engaged 16-24 year olds.

The app enables young people to search their local area and find opportunities. By putting power into their hands and opening up opportunities beyond the traditional employers, Workfinder aims to see every single young person getting the experience they need to hit the ground running when they start their first jobs.

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How Ed-tech Can Help Close The Skills Gap And Improve Employability For Young People

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Written by Sherry Coutu CBE, Chairman, Founders4Schools and The ScaleUp Institute

There is a wide body of material about the skills crisis facing the UK, and rightly so. Research from the Social Market Foundation & EDF (2017) shows that 640,000 STEM jobs will need to be filled in the next 6 years. As many as 65% of these jobs haven’t even been invented yet, according to research shared by RAND Europe. The acquisition of skills to do the jobs of today, let alone the jobs of the future, are critical across all age groups.

I applaud the dedication of the Corsham Institute and others, many of who are also writing for Observatory, to collaborate with Government, citizens and other stakeholders, and address the critical issues raised in our digital age. We need to continue to shout about it, and I commend the BBC teams for a fabulous job at raising awareness – long may it continue!


Founders4Schools’ mission builds on the excellent careers research done by the Careers & Enterprise Company and others that demonstrate how vital it is to ensure that every young person gets at least four encounters with employers each year, while they are between the ages of 8 and 16, and 140 hours of work experience while they are between the ages of 16 and 24.

We are an EdTech organisation dedicated to make sure these connections improve the life chances of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who lack access to professional role models, by connecting them to business leaders. Advances in technology help make these connections easier and scalable.  

Such encounters improve the employability of young people by helping them understand the skills they need and enabling them to make informed decisions about their future. Our success has allowed us to work with thousands of teachers, schools and businesses to broker requests for over 250,000 student-employer encounters for 100,000 students to date.  

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I am excited by the findings of the Corsham Institute’s Thought Leadership reports (2017), on how digital technologies can make education more efficient and accessible, particularly to reach isolated groups of all ages. As we know, it’s critical for the future employment market that we inspire more young people to take STEM subjects, whether at A Level or T Level. For the here and now there is also a need to focus on refresher training and knowledge transfer for all ages.  

The Open University reports (Telegraph, 2 July) that skills shortages are costing UK businesses £2bn a year. That’s one indication of the cost of the huge, economy-damaging shortage in candidates for technology, science and data jobs. This year, less than 1 per cent of students took an A level in computing and only 15% studied a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths) subject. We should be especially concerned about the uneven playing field in acquiring STEM skills regionally, which expands socio-economic differences in society, and the lack of appeal of these subjects to girls.  

ASPIRES research highlights that STEM engagement falls in young women from 72% at age 10 to just 19% at age 18. They are far more likely to want to become a celebrity or hairdresser! The team’s focus on science highlights the need to shift the conversation in ways that broaden young people’s views of where it can lead. Arguably, that approach could apply to all STEM subjects, across the spectrum of age and background.

We are pleased the Government has taken forward the recommendations of the Report of the Independent Panel on Technical Education, chaired by Lord Sainsbury (2016), and the Post-16 Skills Plan into a T Level Action Plan (2017). It’s great that the first three ‘T’ Level courses in 2020 will include Digital, along with Construction, Education and Childcare. To make these courses as ‘rigorous and respected as A Levels’ will require close engagement with employers and others to ensure skills needs are met. They must represent a broad but clear path to future occupation, incorporating apprenticeships and other substantial work placements with an employer.

At Founders4Schools we know that helping educators connect young people with inspirational leaders, especially women, helps shift that conversation. I believe, in extending that to include work experience, and applying digital solutions, we can make it even easier – and scalable.

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Collaborations – those that are ‘stepping in’

You’ll know from The Scaleup Report (2014) that 82% of scaleups say they could grow their businesses if applicants had the required skills. As the founder of the ScaleUp Institute, I know there are legions of growing companies across the UK who would relish tapping into and helping to create a pipeline of talent. But these companies are not always front of mind when teachers and parents are guiding young people’s work experience choices, and they often don’t have the resources to market themselves.

It’s a focus because 99% of companies are small and 100% of net new jobs in the economy come from companies less than 4 years old.

Using our technology, a young person is introduced to business leaders through encounters such as Career Talks, Mock Interviewing, or Career Fairs that we help an educator facilitate. These lay the foundation for further engagement. Workplace visits are recommended to start to put into greater context what young people have learned in the classroom.


94% of students who have met business leaders via F4S tell us they are inspired and their teachers report they are three times more likely to go on to consider studying a STEM subject. Further, research with Education and Employers Taskforce by Professor Anthony Mann et. al. (2017) found that just four encounters with business leaders render a child 86% less likely to become NEET (not in employment, education or training) beyond school-age years.

It works! We recently celebrated our Founders4Schools 2017 awards at the Crick Institute in London and I was bowled over by the ways in which we have collaborated with educators, business leaders and partners in ways that have genuinely made a difference to the lives of young people. Amongst many others, we recognised Kathryn Loughnan from Avonbourne College in Bournemouth, who has facilitated 1,740 student-employer encounters (SEE’s) since 2013, and Nick Cheese, School Co-ordinator, Greenwood Academy, Birmingham, who after bringing in business leaders to inspire 150 Year 9 students showed us a way to incorporate a career co-ordinator journey into our service.

However, the award for demonstrating the potential for scalability of our services must go to Stirling Council, who in just a few months in 2017 have reached nearly 800 SEE’s per 1,000 students. Through leadership and true collaboration across the community, they are now leading the way in Scotland.

Work experience builds on that, which is why it should be an important part of future qualifications, and integral to career guidance for young people. The Gatsby Foundation ‘Good Career Guidance’ Report (2014) states that, by the age of 16, every pupil should have had at least one experience of the workplace.

So, here are some of the ways that Founders4Schools is using technology to help.   

Technology in Education


Lord Sainsbury’s report called on Government to help schools and colleges embed the fifteen technical education routes into careers education and guidance, saying “It is important the labour market data used to form the routes provides information relevant to the current and likely future labour market” and made a recommendation to the ONS to make the Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) more relevant for stakeholders.

At Founders4Schools, we have integrated information sources and AI technologies to make recommendations to educators so they can arrange student-employer encounters based on their preferred criteria in just minutes. This enables them to arrange over twenty different types of student-employer encounters, with our personalised guidance delivering tangible outcomes aimed to improve social mobility and help close the skills gap. This work builds upon research commissioned by our Partners including the Royal Society, Careers & Enterprise Company and Education Endowment Foundation.  

In our response to the Green Paper, Building our Industrial Strategy (2017), we supported the call for ‘Open Science’, by the release of API’s to key datasets. We see significant benefits in connecting the UK measurement strategy with the National Pupil’s Database (NPD) and are encouraged by the focus on unlocking data in the Digital Strategy. If the Department for Education allowed this via an API (that protects the identity of students) to the NPD we could prove the impact of our work at a fraction of the cost, help teachers and provide critical feedback to share with everyone about what works.  

We also applaud the support provided by the Mayor of London to us in providing access to the machine-readable datasets via the London 2050 Mapping Application for infrastructure and would very much like to see the availability of such information up and down the country to assist further collaborations.

Work experience

We developed Workfinder to help students explore and find work experience placements in their local communities. The Founders4Schools App is now being rolled out with thousands of start-ups, scale ups and large companies signed up including LinkedIn, Sage, Duedil, Zoopla and Salesforce.com.

By downloading a free service, young people can access fast growing businesses, including Scale-Ups and SMEs in their local community. They can view, shortlist and apply to companies that interest them using our proprietary recommendations. They will have personalised recommendations to guide them to 140 hours of work experience placements in a variety of businesses.

It has historically been difficult to identify enough work experience opportunities for young people, but Workfinder makes this much easier through increasing and broadening the range of potential work experience opportunities. Local businesses love it because they have a personal connection and the opportunity to attract new talent.

Careers Advice

As highlighted in the Corsham Institute Thought Leadership report: ‘The role of the educator is changing and we need to support teaching staff to recognise the benefits of using digital technology both as a source of information and as a teaching aid…” At Founders4Schools, we are building on the work of the Royal Society, CBI and CEC to enable more online training for educators, so they can better equip themselves to advise their students on the career choices in front of them.

The Royal Society’s Vision 2020 report called on new, independent, expert bodies that draw on the wider STEM professional community to step up, and called for a sustained effort to give teachers time and resources to undertake subject-specific professional development. I am passionate about finding ways to help teachers develop their own understanding of careers and the changing needs of the post-education employment market to students, while developing their own digital skills.


We applaud the work of the CEC to train and equip enterprise advisors in 1,000 schools so that teachers are aware of the best-evidenced employability initiatives. We are pleased to have developed the Careers and Enterprise dashboard (available to see on our website) that reports on the progress being made in each Local Enterprise Partnership area.

This means we can track student-employer encounters per 1,000 and celebrate the work being done, for example, by Camden Council in the London LEP who, with the drive of schools like The UCL Academy and Rhyl Primary School, have achieved 749 student employer encounters per 1,000 students. 

In conclusion, I welcome the launch of Observatory and the debates that will flow from these pages. There is a lot of great work being done, focused on some clear and pressing issues. Through ongoing collaborations and by the sharing of key information, I am certain that we will make a positive and tangible difference for future generations.

If you would like to offer work experience or workplace visits – our onboarding process takes less than 30 seconds at www.founders4schools.com.

If you’d like to encourage schools to turn to us for help contacting local businesses, please point them in our direction. It takes just a few minutes at  www.founders4schools.com.

Founders4Schools is an Ed-Tech charity dedicated to improving the life chances of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds by connecting them to business leaders.

Sherry Coutu CBE chairs both the ScaleUp Institute & Founders4Schools.


Future Forward: Boosting Youth Employability In The North East of England

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You are invited to join Founders4Schools to explore and celebrate how the North East of England community is preparing students for the future of work.

A keynote speech will be given by Sherry Coutu CBE, recently awarded as The Most Influential Woman In UK IT by Computer Weekly.

Date and time: Wed 29 November 2017, 17:00 – 19:30

LOCATION: The Boiler Shop, 20 South Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3PE


Founders4Schools New Feature Update

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At Founders4Schools we pay close attention to the needs of our community of educators, business leaders and partners. We know that you have very little time to spare so we work hard to make life easy. Here are the latest upgrades to our service for 8 to 16 year olds.

F4S upgrades

Personalised recommendation engine. We have introduced a recommendation engine to show the six top matched business leaders. Educators can still personalise their search to suit the needs of young people using filters such as gender and industry.

Filter business leaders by language. Educators can now specify which languages business leaders speak and they can search for those languages within the curriculum filter field on the business leaders search page.

Curriculum search box. Educators can now use a curriculum search box in addition to the existing tick boxes on the business leaders search page.

Encounter end time. When using ‘Quick Request‘ to create an encounter, we have now added an ‘end time’ so business leaders are aware of the event’s duration.

Insight alerts. We have improved the user experience for the subscriber event alerts in the insight section.

We look forward to seeing how our new features are adopted!

Founders4Schools Awards 2017

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We are delighted to celebrate the educators, business leaders and partners who have been pioneering new ways of preparing students for the future world of work with Founders4Schools. Congratulations to all of the nominees and winners.

Career Talk Champion

Career Talks allow students to hear from real-life business leaders who can demonstrate the relevance and connection of what is taught in the classroom with careers – because they are creating the jobs right now! They also allow students to gain an understanding of what different jobs actually entail, while bringing the curriculum to life. The goal is to equip students with the inspiration and information to make better informed decisions about their future career paths.

Kelly Davies | Witton Park High School, Blackburn Greater Manchester LEP

Kelly Davies from Witton Park High School in Blackburn organised two Career Talks with CEOs of fast growing companies in just one week, inspiring 400 students of different ages. The first encounter was organised for 12-13 year olds. Ian Appleton, CEO of Kerax Limited, visited the school to talk about his journey through his education and work at huge companies such as BP and Mobil, to eventually starting and owning his own company. Ms. Davies then organised Yasar Zaman to visit her school just two days later, this time to speak to 14-15 year olds. Mr. Zaman is CEO of the Empire Group UK, a fast-growing company specialising in supplying public services with professional translators. Empire Group is a fantastic example of a fast-growing company, as they first started providing services to organisations in North West England but have expanded their remit to the rest of the UK and now have an annual turnover of over £2 million.

Kathryn Loughnan | Avonbourne College, Bournemouth Dorset LEP

Kathryn Loughnan from Avonbourne College in Bournemouth has been committed to ensuring her students have encounters with local business leaders every single year. She has created Role Model encounters every July, starting in 2013, facilitating a total of 1,740 student-employer encounters. Avonbourne College is an all-girls school for students aged 11-16, and Ms. Loughnan has consistently ensured that her female students meet an equal balance of both male and female business leaders. The students have been particularly inspired by hugely successful female founders of businesses, such as Franziska Conrad, Founder of Inherently Good Design, and Michaele Keene, Founder of Sphere Information Technology Ltd. Moreover, Ms. Loughnan invests a lot of time in building working relationships with the business leaders who attend Avonbourne College, which means that many of them return the next year.

Shayne Davids | Carlton Primary School, London, London LEP

Shayne Davids from Carlton Primary School in London only joined the Founders4Schools community in March 2017 and has already organised five Role Model encounters! He has invited hugely successful male and female business leaders to talk to his Primary School Class, such as Andrew Lecocq, Co-Founder and CEO at Hillgate, and Narda Shirley, Founder and Managing Director of Gong Communications Ltd. Encounters such as these are hugely meaningful and inspirational for students aged 8-11, and we love the fact that Mr. Davids has recognised that students are never too young to start hearing about exciting pathways and careers that are possible after secondary school.

Simon Armitage | Director of Guidance, The Stephen Perse Foundation, Cambridge The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP

Simon Armitage has used our services regularly since 2015 to inspire the students of The Stephen Perse Foundation. Simon comes up with original and creative themes for his encounters and always makes a particular effort to ensure that each encounter has a specific focus to benefit his students. For example, he organised a Role Model encounter titled ‘Business is Variety!’ and invited business leaders from a wide range of innovative sectors, to highlight to his students that there is more to business than being a lawyer, doctor or accountant. He has also organised a number of encounters specifically for female students, to give them exposure to a wide a range of career paths. What is more, he often coincides his encounters with exciting, national campaigns such as British Science Week, and uses these as opportunities to invite local business leaders in to help students relate what they are learning in the classroom to the wider world of work.

WINNER Kathryn Loughnan | Avonbourne College, Bournemouth Dorset LEP

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The Gatsby Foundation ‘Good Career Guidance’ Report states that, by the age of 16, every pupil should have had at least one experience of the workplace. However, not all teachers are able to provide this experience to their students, often because of the amount of time and logistics it takes to arrange this type of encounter. This award acknowledges the educator and the business who understand the value and impact of workplace visits and came together to ensure that young people have an amazing experience of the work environment.

Jo Bishop | Head of Careers, City and Islington Sixth Form College, London, and Joshua Graff | UK Country Manager & VP EMEA, LinkedIn, London LEP

Ms. Bishop organised a Workplace Visit for a small group of ambitious A Level students in June 2017 to the LinkedIn Head Offices in London. The students were welcomed by Josh Graff, UK Country Manager & VP EMEA at LinkedIn and the visit was followed by a panel discussion with employees from across the business. Students heard about what it’s like to work at LinkedIn, the career history of each panel member and the skills the firm will be hiring for in the future. Following the panel discussion, the group were given the opportunity to ask questions and were then taken on a private, guided tour of the impressive offices. One student was quoted saying, “The LinkedIn offices are really fun and open and it seems like a great place to work. I was surprised by how they recruit people. They really want people’s personalities to come out during an interview, it’s not just based on their GCSEs.”

Sam McLoughlin | Business Engagement Manager, Studio West, Newcastle, and Catherine Boland | HR Manager, printed.com North East LEP

Sam McLoughlin, Business Engagement Manager at Studio West in Newcastle, and Catherine Boland, HR Manager at printed. com organised two workplace visits for a total of sixty 13–14 year olds within three days of each other! Mr. McLoughlin wanted his students to learn the required skills and characteristics needed to succeed in the workplace, with an extra emphasis on the importance of resilience. While Mr. McLoughlin has arranged a variety of encounters through Founders4Schools services for his students, in this case he decided that a visit to a real-life workplace would further engage and inspire his students. The students were warmly welcomed into the offices of printed.com, a creative and dynamic technology-driven environment, by Catherine Boland. printed.com has a strong ethos of giving back to their community and Ms Boland has developed a comprehensive work experience programme at printed.com, which engages with both teachers and students at regional schools, colleges and universities.

Dawn Woodcock | Principal, Tottenham University Technical College, London, and Michael Nabrano | CEO, Spektrix London LEP

Dawn Woodcock, Principal of Tottenham University Technical College in London, and Michael Nabrano, CEO of Spektrix organised a Workplace Visit for 10 Computer Science students. The visit was organised for students who expressed an interest in studying Computer Science at University, to give them a sense of what kind of work their degree might lead to. As a fast-growing tech start-up, which now has a turnover of over £3 million and employs 50 people across London, Manchester and New York, Spektrix was hugely inspirational to these Computer Science students and allowed them to experience the culture of a company in their chosen career field first-hand. It also helped them to decide whether Computer Science was the right industry for them and to get a better understanding of the career requirements of working for such an exciting, innovative company.

Michael Kent | Townley Grammar School, London, Steve Brown | Group Director, Empiric Solutions Ltd, and Kate Ancketill | CEO and Founder, GDR Creative Intelligence Ltd, London LEP

Michael Kent from Townley Grammar School in London organised two different workplace visits on the same day to give varied and insightful experiences to two groups of 15-18-year-old students. The first visit was organised alongside Steve Brown, Group Director at Empiric Solutions Ltd. Empiric Solutions are a global provider of recruitment services operating across a wide range of sectors. Therefore, they were able to offer the students of Townley Grammar School a unique insight and specialist knowledge into the skills required in different industries. The second Workplace Visit was organised with Kate Ancketill, CEO and Founder of GDR Creative Intelligence Ltd. A group of 15 students visited the impressive GDR Creative Intelligence headquarters in central London to learn first-hand from Kate about the work environment and culture of an exciting, start-up company.

WINNER Sam McLoughlin | Business Engagement Manager, Studio West, Newcastle, and Catherine Boland | HR Manager, printed.com, North East LEP



Our Super Users are widely renowned within the Founders4Schools community for using our services consistently and prolifically. They possess a strong understanding of the value and impact of careers education. Key findings about careers and enterprise programmes suggest that they can: improve young people’s ability to make career decisions and their optimism about the future; help young people to increase their attainment and be more likely to enrol in postsecondary education; reduce young people’s likelihood of becoming unemployed; and increase young people’s earnings after they complete their schooling. Our Super Users are well on their way to ensuring that the students at their schools are given every opportunity to succeed in the future.

Michael Halliday | UTC Reading Thames Valley Berkshire LEP

Michael Halliday from UTC Reading organised a number of successful, curriculum-focused encounters, specifically for students who were interested in pursuing careers in technology and computing. He used the Founders4Schools service to source business leaders from these industries and organised two innovative events: TechMentors and EngineerMentors. During each of these, students met at least five industry leaders and were able to ask many questions. Mr. Halliday then went on to create another original concept, ‘Interview Insights’. For this event, he invited senior business leaders to give a 45-minute talk to his students, specifically about what makes a good interview. According to Mr. Halliday, the students were excited and inspired, and did not stop asking questions! Mr. Halliday has also gone above and beyond to introduce teachers from other UTCs to the Founders4Schools service to ensure that as many students as possible benefit from engagement with local business leaders.

Paul Butterworth | West Hill School, Stalybridge Greater Manchester LEP

Paul Butterworth from West Hill School in Stalybridge has organised 16 student-employer encounters for his students! Mr. Butterworth creates meaningful, long-lasting connections with the business leaders who attend his school for the benefit of his students. For example, after organising a student employer encounter with Dave Wright from the Kier Group, Mr. Butterworth went above and beyond for his pupils and organised for some pupils to take part in two weeks’ work experience at Kier Group, which will continue next year. Mr. Butterworth also planned a programme from Year 8 through to Year 10 involving presentations and day visits, which was designed to encourage pupils to apply for apprenticeships. He also linked Kier Group with the engineering department at the local college, so that his pupils could study at the college and then apply for higher apprenticeships with Kier. This is a fantastic example of how one can use Founders4Schools to facilitate deeper, meaningful engagement between students and business leaders, and Mr. Butterworth is an inspiration to other educators using the service.

Wendy Breakell and Emilie Delavoix | Westminster Kingsway College, London, London LEP

Wendy Breakell and Emilie Delavoix from Westminster Kingsway College in London have worked together to create numerous student-employer encounters for their students. Between them, they have organised seven hugely successful career talks and one mock interview encounter. What’s more, they are very engaged with the Founders4Schools team, constantly providing feedback from encounters and willing to go above and beyond to help us improve our services. Their students also participated in a focus group for the Workfinder service and helped in some of the early stage development.

Carina Lindars | The Leigh UTC, Dartford South East LEP

Carina Lindars from The Leigh UTC has single-handedly facilitated 475 student-employer encounters since 2015 which far exceeds the national average of 289 per school! Ms. Lindars has made it a priority to provide each student with three employer encounters in 2016 and four in 2015, which is one of our highest records ever. These encounters have been part of a motivational ‘Route to Success’ week, which is organised to provide them with more information on a wide range of STEM careers available through Apprenticeships, University or workplaces. Ms. Lindars is clearly well aware of the research which shows that four student-employer encounters help to make young people more prepared for the world of work. The students at The Leigh UTC are well on their way to being employable

WINNER Carina Lindars | The Leigh UTC, Dartford South East LEP

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Founders4Schools is proud to be associated with such a talented and innovative community of business leaders, educators, and partners. We have designed our services in collaboration with each of these stakeholders and we are committed to finding new ways to evolve, in order to have the most impact on young people. Over the past year, there have been significant changes to our services and many of these have been inspired directly by our users. This award acknowledges and celebrates the stand-outs within our community that continue to help us think outside the box and as a result, are positively contributing to addressing the skills gap in new ways.

Nick Cheese | School Coordinator, Greenwood Academy, Birmingham, Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP

After using the Founders4Schools service for the first time in September 2016, Nick Cheese, School Coordinator at the Greenwood Academy in Birmingham, had some fantastic recommendations for major changes to the service. Mr. Cheese wanted to bring business leaders to speak to students about ways in which they can be successful in their future transitions and he invited four business leaders into the school to inspire 150 Year 9 students. Whilst the event was a huge success, Mr. Cheese recognised that there was no separation in the user journey between teachers and career coordinators. He took it upon himself to produce a fantastic video spec for Founders4Schools, outlining how we should—and could – incorporate a career coordinator journey into our service. This has been hugely beneficial for the Founders4Schools team and thanks to Mr. Cheese, there are now exciting plans in the pipeline to incorporate this feedback and create a separate user journey, specific to career coordinators.

Villiers Park Educational Trust

Founders4Schools is excited to be working closely with Villiers Park Educational Trust, specifically through their INVOLVE initiative. The Scholars Programme was created to tackle the problem of substantial underachievement by many able young people from less advantaged backgrounds and INVOLVE is designed to enhance everyday classroom learning by empowering students to lead on enriching the learning communities in their schools and colleges. This new partnership will enable Scholars in the INVOLVE initiative to be able to use the Founders4Schools service to facilitate meaningful encounters with business leaders on behalf of their teacher, school, and fellow classmates. Villiers Park is being innovative in how they use the services and has inspired Founders4Schools to develop a specific student user journey that will enable more students throughout the UK to be able to set-up career events on behalf of their school!

Stirling Council, Scotland

Stirling Council has been innovative in their system-wide approach in adopting Founders4Schools as the educational initiative that will help drive the Council’s priorities to make their young people more employable. Founders4Schools is new in Scotland but Stewart Carruth, the Chief Executive of Stirling Council, had the entrepreneurial spirit to see how this service can make a profound impact on the community. Mr. Carruth committed that Stirling will lead the way with the most student-employer encounters than any other council in Scotland. Mr. Carruth also extended a personal invitation to his network encouraging businesses to volunteer through the platform. As a result of the Council’s endorsement, a workshop was held with over 20 of their local educators including headteachers from primary and secondary schools. With the further support of Kevin Kelman, Chief Education Officer of Stirling Council, Stirling is well on their way to leading in Scotland with the most studentemployer encounters per 1000 students in just a few short months.

WINNER Nick Cheese | School Coordinator, Greenwood Academy, Birmingham, Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP



We want to celebrate the new members of our community who have already, in just a very short time period, organised a number of opportunities for their students to engage with local businesses. Professor Anthony Mann’s research with Education and Employers Taskforce found that four encounters with business leaders will significantly impact a young person’s life, decreasing their likelihood of being NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) by 86%. Therefore, these newcomers are well on their way of better preparing their students for their future career paths.

Gemma Jackson | Leicester College Leicester and Leicestershire LEP

Gemma Jackson, Employability & Enterprise Manager at Leicester College, joined the Founders4Schools community in February and it didn’t take her long to begin creating encounters. The students at her college engaged with employers in April, May and June! First, Ms. Jackson organised a Careers Talk, during which Charmaine Roche, Director of Nottingham Coaching Centre & Services Ltd, spoke to the students about tomorrow’s jobs and how they relate to subjects students are currently studying. Ms. Jackson then organised a Careers Fair so that her students could engage with employers from fast growing businesses in the local community. Finally, Ms. Jackson hosted a Speed Mentoring encounter and invited business leaders specifically with a background in STEAM to inspire her students about careers in this field. If Ms. Jackson has done all of this in just a few short months, we look forward to seeing the total number of encounters per student increasing in the future, which means these students will definitely be prepared for the world of work.

Julie Lee | St Anne’s Catholic High School for Girls, London London LEP

Julie Lee from St Anne’s Catholic High School for Girls in London, joined the Founders4Schools community in May and has already started to embed student-employer encounters into the curriculum for next academic year, organising three encounters in September and October. Ms. Lee is planning to engage her students at the beginning of the academic year with a Workplace Visit, and has also invited local business leaders into the school for Careers Fairs in October. Providing young people with a variety of encounters allows them to interact with the world of work in different ways to ensure a richer, more in-depth experience. This is a fantastic way to kick start the new school year to ensure that her students are focused on their current studies and gain insights into future career pathways which is critical to their success!

Philip Cunningham | Buckingham School Buckinghamshire Thames Valley LEP

Philip Cunningham, the Vocational/Careers Curriculum Manager at Buckingham School in Buckingham joined the Founders4Schools community in January and has already created three curriculumspecific careers encounters for his students. He invited business leaders with particular curriculum expertise to speak about how the subjects students are currently learning in the classroom can lead to a variety of exciting careers. Mr. Cunningham organised two mathsfocused encounters and one science-focused encounters, highlighting his commitment to engaging students in the STEM field and addressing common misconceptions surrounding these subjects.

Jamie Forrest | Beechen Cliff School, Bath West of England LEP

Jamie Forrest, Head of Careers Education at Beechen Cliff School in Bath, joined the Founders4Schools Community in April this year and has made fantastic progress in creating encounters for the new academic year. He has created three different types of encounter to engage his pupils and facilitate interactions with business leaders in their local area. Jamie has organised a Careers talk with the Managing Director of Hybrid News Ltd, as well as a Keynote Career Speech for the whole school’s morning assembly with two highly successful business leaders, the Director of Mint Digital Ltd and the CEO of M2 Communications Ltd. A Careers Fair is also scheduled in October with various local businesses that will enable the students to gather information about different industries, jobs, apprenticeships and future pathways available to them when they leave school. Mr. Forrest is starting the school year sending a strong message about the value of careers educator and the importance of connecting young people with local businesses.

WINNER Gemma Jackson | Leicester College Leicester and Leicestershire LEP



ASPIRES research highlighted that children without familial capital frequently see a very narrow range of jobs and describe careers such as those in STEM to be the sole preserve of those with high exam results, or male and middle-class. The research also suggests that access to positive role models from a similar background at school holds strong potential for breaking long held societal attitudes around the types of career appropriate for girls, women and people from underrepresented backgrounds and communities. Therefore, it is critical that young people get exposure to diverse and inspiring role models that can help shape our future workforce. This award celebrates educators who are working hard to make an impact in the area of diversity.

Kayleigh Liddel | HE Curriculum Coordinator, Active Learning and Reading College, Thames Valley Berkshire LEP

To celebrate International Women’s Day, Ms. Kayleigh Liddel held a networking encounter and inspirational talk at Reading College, joined by female pupils from John Madejski Academy and Reading Girls School. The event was titled: ‘Be Bold For Change— Recruiting women into STEM’ which incorporated the 2017 theme for international women’s day, creating a common call to action that connected these young women to women throughout the rest of world. Ms. Liddel invited Harriet Kirk, a senior consultant from Sage, to share her experience in conversation and to inspire careers in STEM. 100 female students aged 14-18 heard from Ms. Kirk about how Sage has energised the success of businesses and communities around the world through smart technology, and where a career in technology can lead.

Samantha Millichap | Birmingham Independent College, Birmingham, Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP

Sam Millichap created a Careers Talk for the students of Birmingham Independent College, an alternative provision for newly arrived teenagers who are, for various reasons, out of the mainstream education system. These students face many difficult situations in their lives including homelessness, living in the UK without any family, and not speaking the language. They are all trying to make a new life for themselves. Ms. Millichap is determined to make these young people productive and happy members of the UK who understand that effort is always rewarded. One way of working toward this goal was for these students to meet and hear from business leaders who may have faced their own challenges, yet through hard work and perseverance, they have gone on to lead successful lives. Therefore, Ms.Millichap went above and beyond to organise an encounter where her students could meet business people who have come from other countries, to share their personal and professional journeys and provide real inspiration.

Sefika Mehmet | Kelmscott School, London London LEP

Sefika Mehmet from Kelmscott School in London organised a Speed Mentoring encounter titled ‘Professional Women’s Day’ to demonstrate the scope of opportunities available to her female students. The day was designed to encourage female students to aspire to professional careers, by meeting successful women from different industries and organisations. 75 female students aged 14 to 16 years old had the opportunity to engage with two hugely inspiring women: Aga Gajownik, Founder of Innovation and Integration Ltd, and Julie Walter, Founder and Managing Director of Raremark. These women are not only both extremely driven and determined entrepreneurs, they have also built businesses with a combined turnover of over £3 million. The pupils of Kelmscott School had the unique opportunity to ask these business leaders questions about the paths they took, the qualifications they needed and the skills they required to build their careers.

Sue Higgins | Parliament Hill School, London London LEP

Sue Higgins from Parliament Hill School in London invited an influential and highly successful business leader to give a Keynote Careers Speech to her students on International Women’s Day. 50 students, aged 15 years old, met Louise Proddow, entrepreneur, strategist, author and founder of Tweak brand and marketing agency. Ms. Proddow has been responsible for creating and shaping global brands, marketing and digital strategies for some of the world’s top technology brands. Not only this, she also volunteers as a Digital Communications Strategist for UN Women UK, connecting communications and digital across all aspects of UN Women activities in the UK to drive engagement opportunities. It was hugely empowering for the students of Parliament Hill School to hear Ms. Proddow’s unique stories and certainly left them feeling inspired about what they could achieve in the future.

WINNER Samantha Millichap | Birmingham Independent College, Birmingham, Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP



In honour of the Francis Crick Institute hosting the Educator and Enterprise Awards, it is important to acknowledge the educators who are helping to prepare their students for employment in STEM related jobs. ASPIRES research highlights that STEM engagement falls in young women from 72% at age 10 to 19% at age 18, and for young men STEM engagement falls from 75% at age 10 to 33% by age 18. This is a staggering statistic given that the number of jobs in STEM will grow at double the rate of other careers according to a report by the Social Market Foundation and EDF; researchers estimate that a total of 640,000 STEM jobs will need to be filled over the next six years. Communities as a whole have a commitment to help young people see the value pursuing STEM careers, and this award acknowledges the educators who are making this a priority.

Nevita Pandya | Townley Grammar School, London London LEP

Nevita Pandya has organised two very successful STEM-focused encounters through Founders4Schools, called ‘The Magic of STEM!’ Ms. Pandya invited a wide range of industry experts to inspire her students, including former government minister and current Chief Education Advisor at TES Global, Jim Knight. Lord Knight spoke about his experience in using digital technology in delivering public services alongside the Technology Strategist and Innovator from Kurtosys System Limited, Harry Thompson. The students benefitted from hearing from a diverse range of business leaders with varying insights and experiences to share in the STEM field.

Cerian Lye-Owens | Lydiard Park Academy, Swindon The Swindon and Wiltshire LEP

Cerian Lye-Owens from Lydiard Park Academy organised a ‘STEM Careers Day’ for fifty 13 year olds, and invited Paul Norbury, Founder and CEO of Cardwave Services Ltd. As a STEM specialist, Mr. Norbury provided a Keynote Speech about careers in STEM. Mr Norbury is very passionate about technology, and widely regarded as a thought-leader in the technology industry. He has continually evolved Cardware Services Ltd to stay at the forefront of the industry, and it is now a global, multi-award winning company. The students of Lydiard Park Academy had a unique opportunity to engage directly with Mr. Norbury, a real industry expert, and ask many questions about his impressive career journey and where STEM subjects can take them in the future.

Martin Macmillan | McLaren High School, Callander Stirling Council, Scotland

Martin Macmillan from McLaren High School in Callander has encouraged his students to work on Computing/STEM based projects, such as building weather stations and developing mobile phone apps. He used Founders4Schools to invite David Frame, the Group Managing Director of B&D Group Ltd, a specialist in STEM, into McLaren High School to endorse the importance of their projects. Mr. Macmillan has also booked another encounter for September, so that more business leaders working in STEM-related fields can share details with students about their experiences in school, their journey to where they are now and the skills and qualities they would be looking for if they were to hire a school leaver. This is intended to inspire the pupils working on their STEM projects and offer a variety of perspectives of potential future careers.

Charlotte O’Neil | Isleworth Town Primary School London LEP

Charlotte O’Neil from Isleworth Town Primary School organised a STEM Week this year for her 10 and 11-year-old pupils, during which she organised a number of workshops for children to take part in. Ms. O’Neil invited Fiona Rutherford, Senior Consultant at Watson Millican and Co, Elizabeth Hatt, Director of Acquisition at Dell, and Mitch Goldmand, E-Commerce product owner and project manager at Made.Com Design Ltd into Isleworth Town Primary School to help raise aspiration and awareness of the high impact careers that students can pursue in STEM. She was keen for her students to gain an understanding of the unique skills and roles that are needed in today’s economy. Ms. O’Neil is paving the way in inspiring children into STEM from a young age.

WINNER Martin Macmillan | McLaren High School, Callander Stirling Council, Scotland


Founders4Schools has been able to reach 80,000 young people to date, largely due to the support and collaboration of the amazing partners that we work with throughout England and Scotland. In order to make a profound impact on the skills gap, it is vital that Founders4Schools works collaboratively within the ecosystem.

Allison Giles | Enterprise Coordinator, Thames Valley Berkshire Founders4Schools has been grateful to work with Enterprise Coordinators and the Enterprise Advisor Network with The Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC) throughout England. We would like to highlight the partnership specifically with Allison Giles, Enterprise Coordinator with Thames Valley Berkshire as Ms. Giles has gone above and beyond to help schools understand the value behind Founders4Schools and the services we offer to benefit young people, inviting us to present and engage with the local schools on many occasions. Ms. Giles and her network of Enterprise Advisors are currently working with 27 schools and colleges across Thames Valley Berkshire, helping senior leadership teams to create lasting employer engagement relationships and enterprise plans. Largely due to the support from Ms. Giles and her colleagues in spreading the word about Founders4Schools, Thames Valley Berkshire is now in the top 5 LEPs for the most student-employer encounters per 1000 students.

Lorraine Lawson | Brokerage Manager for Education, Camden Council

Lorraine Lawson, the Brokerage Manager for Education in Camden, has been an incredible partner to work closely with over the past year. Ms. Lawson’s efforts have driven Camden to be the number one Local Authority throughout the UK, leading the way in student employer encounters at 13,562. A total of 51 events have taken place, connecting students with 124 local business leaders. Ms. Lawson also helped to identify schools to participate in the pilot stage of Workfinder and has devoted a great deal of her time to work with us along the way. We are beyond grateful for her support in providing meaningful insights and critical feedback throughout the pilot stage for Workfinder as well as for encouraging more teachers to engage with business leaders through a wide range of encounters; this level of support has been instrumental in ensuring that Founders4Schools and Workfinder are better positioned to meet the needs of young people, businesses, and schools.


Founders4Schools is excited to be working closely with Ark schools throughout England. To date, seven Ark academies have used Founders4Schools services, facilitating a total of 895 studentemployer encounters. We have had the privilege to work closely with Chloe Holmes, Professional Pathways Programme Manager. Ms. Holmes has embedded the Founders4Schools service into Ark’s Professional Pathways Programme, which provides a high quality alternative route for students who are not pursuing A Level qualifications. Ms. Holmes introduced Founders4Schools to all of the Professional Pathways teachers, encouraging and empowering these educators to invite speakers into their classrooms to enhance the curriculum programme they were using. These educators were given the task of using Founders4Schools to facilitate at least two encounters throughout the school year; as a result, these students will be better prepared to make informed decisions about their future career paths.

Imperial College

Founders4Schools has had the privilege of hosting two Computer Science students as interns thanks to our partnership with Imperial College Data Science Institute. The interns have been focused on improving the personalised guidance embedded in our subscriber service for educators which ensures that educators benefit from all the latest research in career advice so that their students get the right combination of encounters with the right employers at the right time. Their initial projects have been focused on the Creative Industries sector as it is one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK economy.

WINNER Allison Giles | Enterprise Coordinator, Thames Valley Berkshire

Allison Giles


Local government is a key stakeholder in helping shape the education and skills agenda in each community. We recognise and respect the role councils play in preparing young people for the world of work and Founders4Schools would not be able to have the impact that we have to date without their support and endorsement.

Camden Council, London

Camden Council has long supported Founders4Schools and leads the way as the Local Authority with the highest number of studentemployer encounters per 1000 students at 749 as of the 1st August. A total of 51 encounters have taken place, connecting with 124 local business leaders. Seven of the schools also participated in the Workfinder pilot programme and were instrumental in providing insights into the development of the service. We had the privilege of working closely with Lorraine Lawson, the Brokerage Manager for Education who invited us to engage with headteachers, heads of 6th Form, and career advisors. The Camden STEAM Commission published their Commission Report in June 2017 highlighting recommendations for providing young people in the borough with the skills and opportunities to thrive and we were thrilled to find both Workfinder and Founders4Schools referenced in it. Much of the impact that was made in Camden was due to the high value this local authority places on connecting education and business.

Stirling Council, Scotland

Stirling Council has adopted Founders4Schools as the educational initiative that will help drive the Council’s priorities to make their young people more employable. Founders4Schools is new in Scotland, but Stewart Carruth the Chief Executive of Stirling Council had the entrepreneurial spirit to see how this service and the data insights can make a profound impact on the community. Mr. Carruth committed that Stirling will lead the way with the most studentemployer encounters than any other council in Scotland. Mr. Carruth also extended a personal invitation to his network encouraging businesses to volunteer through the platform. As a result of the Council’s endorsement, a workshop was held with over 20 of their local educators including headteachers from primary and secondary schools. With the further support of Kevin Kelman, Chief Education Officer of Stirling Council, Stirling is well on their way of leading in Scotland with the most student-employer encounters per 1000 students in just a few short months.

Newcastle and North East LEP

The North East community, and specifically Newcastle, have become a strong advocate for Founders4Schools. The community came together to create The Pathways to Industry Event in May 2017 that connected educators and business leaders, along with representatives from the LEP. Founders4Schools was promoted at the event as the recommended digital platform. While there have been schools using our service in the community before this event, we have seen an increase in the number of schools that have used the service in just the past few months with a total of 13 teachers and 4,555 total student-employer encounters. This recent progress is profound. The community remains committed to Founders4Schools and will be hosting another event in the autumn to highlight the work of the educators and business leaders.

WINNER Camden Council, London

Lorraine Lawson


These awards recognise the business leaders who stand out for their commitment to addressing the skills gap and their support of Founders4Schools. The Ambassador of the Year Award celebrates the business leader who has acted as an advocate to increase the skills in their local communities. The Inspiration of the Year Award highlights an amazing business leader who has shown a steadfast commitment to inspiring young people, repeatedly volunteering their time to share insights and expertise.

Stewart Carruth | Chief Executive, Stirling Council, Scotland

Stewart Carruth is the Chief Executive of Stirling Council in Scotland. Mr. Carruth has endorsed Founders4Schools and wants all schools within Stirling Local Authority to use Founders4Schools. Not only has Mr. Carruth sent a strong call to action to all of his educators, he has been an advocate on behalf of Founders4Schools to the business community as well. Mr. Carruth extended a personal invitation to his network of over 1,000 business leaders to volunteer through the platform. With this level of support, the amount of impact on the young people within the Stirling community will be profound. The local authority already leads the way in Scotland with the most student-employer encounters!

Tony Greig | CEO, Legrand Electric, Birmingham Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP

Tony Greig is the CEO at Legrand Electric, the global specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructures. He has accepted 14 invitations to a range of different student-employer encounters at 10 different schools and has consistently spoken every year since 2015— in fact, he has never turned down an invite! Teachers always feedback on his ability to inspire pupils with his fascinating career journey around the world with possessing intensive global experience. He has even been known to attend more than one encounter a week, demonstrating his unrelenting commitment to inspiring the future generation.

Chris Windley | Head of Business Development, Spectrum Telecoms in London London LEP

Chris Windley is Head of Business Development at Spectrum Telecom, an independent business connectivity provider in Burton on Trent. Mr. Windley joined the Founders4Schools community as a volunteer in 2017 and he has already spoken at 10 events! Mr Windley is always keen to share his anecdotes after each encounter, which is fantastic to hear. He recently emailed to tell us about an encounter he attended which genuinely moved him, as he was presenting to children from low income backgrounds on pupil premium. Mr. Windley demonstrates a real sense of responsibility and pride in his role as a speaker. Mr. Windley also offers interesting and insightful feedback on how we can improve our services, which is hugely beneficial as we continue to grow and develop.

Paul Jundu | Owner and Director, Onboard Corrugated Ltd, Birmingham, Birmingham and Solihull LEP

Paul Jundu, Owner and Director of Onboard Corrugated Ltd., has consistently spoken every year since 2014, on fourteen different occasions! Moreover, he goes above and beyond for teachers to ensure that their events are a success. Recently, he agreed to attend a school one hour earlier than scheduled, to participate in an additional session with gifted and talented pupils. Mr. Jundu is wholly committed to his role in inspiring the future generation and making a difference to young people in his local area.

Paul Jundu


babylon is a hot tech scale-up that is on a mission to transform the healthcare experience for everyone worldwide. Simon Kelly is the Chief Sales Officer at babylon and has been a strong ambassador for Founders4Schools since the beginning; when he introduced Founders4Schools to babylon and the Chief Executive, Ali Parsa, there was immediate synergy. The values, ethos, and innovation at babylon make it the perfect scale-up to be able to inspire young people about exciting jobs of the future and three very lucky young people from Camden got to experience this firsthand this summer. babylon hosted three students for work experience placements through Workfinder and provided them with an incredibly meaningful and exciting experience. Founders4Schools is grateful to be able to work with a scale-up like babylon that is committed to helping young people develop the skills they need to be successful in the world of work.

WINNERS Ambassador: Stewart Carruth | Chief Executive, Stirling Council, Scotland Inspiration: Paul Jundu | Owner and Director, Onboard Corrugated Ltd, Birmingham, Birmingham and Solihull LEP

Stuart Caruth

Experience Works, the Founders4Schools introduction to Workfinder

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Workfinder Twitter Quotographs[1]

I’m delighted to share Experience Works, our introduction to Workfinder – a new platform from the team at Founders4Schools.

We were inspired to create Workfinder having observed an issue in the skills market. Businesses need school leavers and graduates to have basic workplace skills so they can hit the ground running when they start their careers.

To develop these skills, young people need regular contact with the working world. An obvious answer to this is work experience. But we’ve found that the current model is broken and the percentage of young people accessing quality placements is dismally low.

Workfinder Twitter Quotographs4[2]

We were aware of this challenge but we were further spurred on to create a solution by a work experience student of our own. Maitri Panchal spent some time with us at Founders4Schools and suggested that there should be an app to rate placements. This was a light bulb moment for us.

We decided not only to create a service to rate placements, but to discover them as well. By harnessing our network, we’ve been able to build a platform to connect the UK’s most ambitious young people with quality, exciting placements at great companies across the country.

We’ve been trialling the service over the past eight months and now we’re ready to launch it to the business world and encourage great companies in every corner of the UK to sign up and offer placements.

We see this as essential. Not only can we inspire the next generation. We can give great, growing companies access to a pipeline of tomorrow’s talent.

Workfinder Twitter Quotographs3[3]

I know there are thousands of brilliant scale-ups across the UK, I’ve met many of you. I’d be thrilled if you could get involved, tell your network about Workfinder and start using the platform today. Read more about our story, our mission and how to get involved by downloading Experience Works now.


We’re excited to announce the launch of Experience Works, a publication from Workfinder – our new platform to connect young people with opportunities in great, local companies.

Workfinder is our answer to a serious skills problem. Businesses are crying out for talent and saying they value work experience over qualifications. But only a small percentage of young people actually access quality work experience.

We’ve created a tech-enabled solution, which helps the next generation to discover great local companies and find meaningful work experience opportunities. We’re hoping this will not only inspire young people but give ambitious, growing companies access to a pipeline of tomorrow’s talent.

Workfinder Twitter Quotographs2[2]

Experience Works is a call-to-action for these businesses to sign up and start offering placements today. In it we have captured our mission and spoken to some of our supporters and early adopters:

“All too often though the quality of a pupil’s work experience placement is determined almost entirely by the calibre of their parents’ professional network,” writes Sarah Wood OBE, co-founder of Unruly. “Workfinder levels the playing field. It creates easily accessible, exciting work experience opportunities for pupils, regardless of their background.”

“This is a powerful tool,” writes Carolyn Fairbairn. “Our main concern over the past few years has not been unwillingness amongst businesses to offer work experience, nor a lack of interest amongst young people. Rather, a lot of positive developments had been confined to individual companies or schools, when we need to ensure that high quality work experience is available to all young people. Workfinder provides the opportunity to make these positive changes systemic.”

Download Experience Works now. If you want to get involved, sign up today and start inspiring the next generation: SIGN UP NOW

2017/18 Careers Calendar To Boost Student Employability

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Founders4Schools’ mission is to improve society by increasing youth employability. To do this, we want to ensure that every young person has access to at least four encounters with employers each year.


To make this easier for you in the upcoming academic year, here is our simple Careers Calendar 2017/18 to guide you. This outlines significant national and international events for your diary and suggests creative ways you can bring these to life in your classroom by involving local business leaders. You can download a PDF version here.

Date Event Inspire your students
11th October Ada Lovelace Day Born in 1815, Ada Lovelace is widely regarded as the first computer programmer. Celebrate women in STEM, inspire your students and and honour Ada Lovelace day, by inviting a female business leader working in a STEM industry into your school. INVITE BUSINESS LEADERS >
13th – 19th November Global Entrepreneurship Week During the world’s largest festival of entrepreneurship, invite a Founder of a fast-growing start up company into the classroom to inspire your students with their entrepreneurial success story, or hold a Group Mentoring session so that students have a chance to ask Business Leaders meaningful questions about their experiences. INVITE BUSINESS LEADERS >
5th – 11th December Computer Science Education Week Inspire your students to try computer science by inviting a Business Leader from an IT, Computer Software or Gaming company, to inspire students about the endless possibilities that come with studying computer science. Alternatively, organise a Workplace Visit to an exciting start-up company, so that students can meet a range of different employees working in the computing field. INVITE BUSINESS LEADERS >
1st – 18th February National Apprenticeship Week During National Apprenticeship Week, you can organise career talks with Business Leaders who will speak about the importance of gaining apprenticeships and work experience. A meaningful careers talk will help your students understand the links between apprenticeships, skills and the pathways they open up. INVITE BUSINESS LEADERS >
5th – 10th March National Careers Week To celebrate National Careers Week, help prepare your students for the world of work by organising Mock Interviews with motivational Business Leaders, to help them think about their future career and develop the skills needed to enter the world of work. You could also organise a Careers Fair to showcase local businesses to students and give them the opportunity to ask questions. INVITE BUSINESS LEADERS >
8th March International Women’s Day To honour International Women’s Day, inspire your students by inviting a panel of inspirational, successful female business leaders into your school. They can speak about their own career journey, what their job entails and why it is important, and their own personal successes and failures. INVITE BUSINESS LEADERS >
10th – 19th March British Science Week To celebrate British Science Week, invite a Business Leader who works in a scientific field to inspire your students and link what they are learning about to the world of work. You could also organise a Workplace Visit to a company in the STEM field, anything from a healthcare company to a car manufacturing plant! INVITE BUSINESS LEADERS >
14th – 20th March World Maths Week To celebrate World Maths Week, show your students where the study of Maths can take them by inviting an inspiring Business Leader with a specialism in Maths into the classroom to talk about their own career journey and how the study of Maths links to what they do now. You could also organise a Speed Mentoring encounter to allow students to ask quick-fire questions about working in a Maths field. INVITE BUSINESS LEADERS >

Download a PDF of the Founders4Schools Career Calendar 2017/18. You can print it out to share with colleagues or refer to it throughout the year.

Why not get started now and book these encounters in advance here, then leave us to do the rest!

Here’s to a great year!

Your founders4schools team