The past year has been one of both consolidation and growth for Founders4Schools. Our services, which make it easy for educators to arrange encounters between their students and local business leaders, are becoming embedded into the lives of schools and young people.
Founders4Schools has now enabled over 80,000 young people to meet business leaders from their local communities, helping these young people better understand the world they will enter when they are older, and the jobs they might hold or create in the future. We now provide over twenty types of career or enterprise encounters and I’m pleased to have seen such strong take up of a growing range of new encounter types by our customers.
At the beginning of 2017, we announced that we would extend our encounters to help young people on the next step of their journey into work with the pilot of a work experience platform for those young people aged 16 to 24. This new service is called Workfinder which enables young people to obtain work experience placements with small and medium sized businesses in particular. I am hugely excited about the transformative effect this service could have for young people, making work experience about their hopes and ambitions, rather than family business connections.
Our strategy has always been to prioritise our resources to where they are most needed. Reaching young people in the Government’s 12 Opportunity Areas has been core to our activities, and the team and I have enjoyed visiting each of the opportunity areas over the past year.
We were approached by the Hunter Foundation and invited to expand our services into Scotland. It has been a joy working with the Scottish Government and seven Local Authorities in the past year, especially as the results are so pleasing in terms of the number of students now getting four high impact student-employer encounters.
The achievements of Founders4Schools rely on the involvement, enthusiasm and dedication of many people in our society. I want to thank: the educators who have embraced our services to enhance the life prospects of their students; the business leaders who have so generously given up their time to inspire and motivate young people; our Trustees and Advisors, whose support and guidance plays a huge part in the charity’s success; and the many individuals and grant making bodies who have helped to fund the services. Finally, I would like to thank Founders4Schools’ dedicated team of staff, who share my vision in making a fundamental difference to the career chances of young people.