Change champions life changing stories for next wave of talent

Written by
Changeboard Team

20 Oct 2014

20 Oct 2014 • by Changeboard Team

Next wave of talent

With education cuts, increases in tuition fees, rising unemployment, charity funding being slashed, plus thousands of youth workers wiped off the government payroll, are the recent riots a result of a crumbling younger generation? What does this mean for employers when it comes to recruiting the next wave of young talent?

Leaders of the future

As we were plunged into a crisis, while no one condones the criminality of destroyed businesses and streets left in carnage, it has left everyone questioning ‘why did so many of our young people get swept away with the riot frenzy’? Yes, the riots caused outrage. Yes, it shook up the very fabric of our society. Yes, it’s easy to judge, criticise, point the finger and say ‘lock ‘em up’.

Now the shop fronts have been replaced, the debris cleaned away, it’s easy to go back into a false slumber and for many to pretend the issues we are facing as a society don’t exist. Yet there is an army of people out on the front line who make it their business to understand the root causes of youth discontent. They help support young people to turn their lives around by creating partnerships with corporates who can help place them into the world of work, offer work experience opportunities, career workshops, mentoring, coaching and help turn our young people into the leaders of the future.

Career paths & leadership skills

Today’s leaders can become change champions when they marry the challenges faced by local communities and the developing world; with the increasing number of employees wanting to invest their time – and their career – in organisations that have a social and moral conscience. In turn, employees are now seeking out employers who feed their souls and make them feel proud to stand tall in their careers. They want a job that gives meaning to their lives.

Leaders can open up new doors for their employees to engage with charity or social enterprise partners – to bring about social benefit for young people. The payback for business? By tapping into the various passions of their employees to help address some of the wider societal issues; such as tackling poverty, providing hope to others in need - ethics that everyone can buy into and share, this creates a happy, motivated and loyal workforce.

Employees get to further their own careers by learning new skills while broadening their minds at the same time. Making a difference is rewarding but can also be a life changing experience for both employee and the young person or community they are helping.

Taking a chance on young people - Chris Hugo

Chris Hugo, founder & interim chief executive of Fifteen Cornwall argues that employers have a duty to have a social conscience, and to make sure that whatever line of business they are in, they take their responsibilities to society seriously.

Chris Hugo, founder & interim chief executive of Fifteen Cornwall

We take on 20 or so 16 to 24 year old NEETS (not in education, employment or training) with challenging backgrounds each year, and train them to be the chefs of the future. We have a welfare programme to help with any of the issues they may be struggling with when they start with us. We engage with kids who may not receive the same kind of chance from other employers or institutions. Over a period of 16 months, we aim to give them all the tools to overcome any barriers that are in their way, either self-inflicted or dictated by circumstance – and give them a qualification in cheffing that should make them employable for life.

As a business, Fifteen Cornwall is passionate about great food, providing a great experience for our customers, being a positive contributor to the local community, and above all,­ creating fantastic opportunities for young people who might have thought such opportunities weren’t available to them.

The social aims of our enterprise are integral and extremely visible in everything we do. Everyone who works for Fifteen Cornwall knows that the apprentices are the reason our project exists. The ‘white hats’ in the kitchen (the professional chefs wear black hats) are there at every shift, and many of our staff chose to come and work for us because they wanted to be involved in the project and the part it plays in helping young people turn around their lives. The graduation of our apprentices is an annual event where all the staff can see the fruits of the project. It’s an emotional day for everyone.

Employers must not underestimate the potential impact they can have on the communities they are part of, both in a positive and negative way, and they should give due consideration to this duty of care. Corporations are often focal points for communities. Employees, customers, suppliers, other local stakeholders all have interdependent relations with the corporations in their area.

Cornwall is still one the poorest areas of Europe, but the unrealised potential within its poorest sectors is one of its assets. We have experience of the rewards that are available if you take a chance on someone when no one else would. Some of our best graduates have developed from our most challenging apprentices. Our experience is that when you offer an opportunity to someone who thinks opportunity has gone, you can be rewarded beyond expectation.

Call to corporates:

We have to bridge an annual funding gap of around £200k per year. Our aim is to grow our apprenticeship programme beyond the existing restaurant model. We would like to offer a range of vocational training using the same blueprint that we’ve used for the last five years, delivering perhaps 100 graduates a year. We can imagine partnering with large corporations who could help us unlock the further potential within our project, and we could provide vocational training in their industry alongside our support programme.

About Chris Hugo: biography

Chris is one of the founding directors of Fifteen Cornwall, and currently the interim CEO.

Photo credit: Main photo supplied by Fifteen Cornwall

Rising young talent - Hayley Pannick

Hayley Pannick, head of corporate partnerships, The Prince’s Trust, reveals over 80% of young people supported by The Trust in 2010 went on to get a job, or moved into education or training.

Hayley Pannick, head of corporate partnerships, The Prince’s Trust

The Prince’s Trust helps young people aged 13-30 who are long-term unemployed, have struggled at school, have been in the care system or in trouble with the law. We work with them to build confidence and motivation, and inspire them to start a career.

The Trust has a long history of working with sports organisations to engage our young people, including the Premier League and the Professional Footballers’ Association. Our work has shown us that having a positive role model can make a huge difference in a young person’s life.

We know that the vast majority of young people were not involved in the riots and take great pride in their communities. It is these young people we need to protect from the aftermath of the riots. 

The Trust is now planning to double its support for young people across five of the areas hardest hit by the riots, including Manchester, Birmingham, Hackney, Tottenham and Croydon.

Building an outstanding charity partnership is a fantastic way to raise your profile in your sector and set you apart from your competitors, and we can support your graduate and talent programmes. It can help offer potential new employees a great reason to work for you and can support HR teams with fresh ways to engage staff, build teams and raise morale by celebrating their achievements.

When a company offers two-week work placements to our young people this can be a real turning point for them – it’s often their first ever experience of the workplace. If this has the potential to turn into a permanent job for a young person, then that’s even better.

Call to corporates:

The Trust looks for companies who can help fund our work. We also look for corporates that can go the extra mile beyond making a donation. The best partnerships are those that see employees getting actively involved. This could be through volunteering to work directly with young people for just one day to help them with their interview skills, or to give more time as a mentor.


About Hayley Pannick: biography

Hayley has been working at youth charity The Prince's Trust for three years, as head of corporate partnerships. She previously worked at Ernst & Young.

Investment into future talent - Lorraine Smith

Every corporation operating across London should bear a degree of responsibility for those who live in the community in which they operate says Lorraine Smith, head of CSR, Taylor Wessing LLP.

Lorraine Smith, head of CSR, Taylor Wessing LLP

Taylor Wessing decided to partner with Future First, a social enterprise to increase social mobility by building alumni communities around state schools to inspire and inform young people about their futures. A fundamental part of measuring the success of our firm is the difference we can make to the lives of people in our community by promoting education and opportunity, both for the people who already work for us, and for those who may choose to do so in the future.

Through this initiative we can show young people in our community that they do have a choice. The Industry Days we hold at our offices with Future First provide the students with an opportunity to build the confidence to follow their career aspirations. We aim to empower them by providing valuable advice on CV writing, preparing for interviews, and even on how to network. By coming into our offices, students also see the wide range of careers open to them at a law firm – it is not just about becoming a solicitor – law firms need PR, accounts and catering teams etc.

I don’t think I would be wrong in saying that most people would like to get more involved in community initiatives, but rarely have the time to do so outside work. It makes sense to provide people with the opportunity to embrace their philanthropic side while at work.

While communication, leadership and networking skills are put into practice, our initiatives with Future First also provide a fantastic team building opportunity, allowing staff to meet people from other parts of the firm that they might not come across in the course of day-to-day work. These are all things that contribute to greater long term employee engagement. The majority of clients themselves have CSR programmes in place and, therefore, client relationships can be enhanced by this common ground.

Call to corporates - Future First

Future First’s corporate partnerships programme works to bridge the gap between ambitious, bright and able state school pupils considering their futures in the world of work and leading businesses interested in investing in both talent and diversity.