EY Foundation charity supports record number of young people

EY Foundation charity supports record number of young people

The EY Foundation charity supports a new wave of talent, helping to fight postcode inequality and provide valuable work experience to underprivileged young people.

EY Foundation charity supports record number of young people

The EY Foundation, headed by Ernst & Young, has seen a 150% increase over the past 12 months in the number of young people and social entrepreneurs it supported, compared to last year. 

Developed to support those who would ordinarily have a difficult time securing employment and growing their own businesses, the EY Foundation allows employers to connect with talent and provide them with multifaceted experience, among other programmes. 

During the 2019 fiscal year, the charity created three new locations in Liverpool, Stoke and Wolverhampton, and introduced two new programmes to support young people who qualify for free meals at school. 

Those programmes, called Smart Futures and Our Future, saw 97% of participating students receive their Chartered Management Institute Level two adult qualification. 

Maryanne Matthews, Chief Executive of the EY Foundation, said: “The last year marked our fifth anniversary – a moment to look back at what we have achieved, but also a time to look to the future and find new ways to increase our impact. 

“With almost 800,000 young people not in education, employment or training, this is not a time to stand still. 

Between July 2018 and June 2019, the Foundation was able to work with 322 employers, an increase of 35% on the previous year, supported by over 3,400 volunteers. 

These employers and volunteers helped to support the charity’s range of employability workshops, including Smart Futures’ ten-month employability and work experience programme. Similarly, Our Future helped support students’ confidence, with nearly one in five participants reporting their presentation skills improved during the programme. 

Supporting students and cultivating talent 

As of January 2019, 14.1% of secondary school students were eligible for, and claiming, free school meals—the highest number since its initial downward trend in 2014, according to gov.uk. Of the Foundation’s participants, 97% qualified for free meals. 

Faced with additional economic uncertainty and traditional barriers to sustainable employment, students participating in the Foundation’s programmes are offered an alternative way of looking at the employment market. 

One programme, Accelerate, worked to increase the impact on local economies and young person-focused social change. Focused on those looking into entrepreneurship, 93% of participants reported increased turnover following the programme, helping to establish a pattern of success. 

Of the participants, 78% came from a BAME background, and the gender balance slightly skewed towards the male side (53% versus 47%). Helping to combat inequalities, the Foundation saw £270k paid to its work experience participants over the year, supported by an additional £45k in work experience placement activities. 

These investments come at an interesting time for the industry, as more employers turn their attention to school leavers and students seeking apprenticeships. Across the Big Four, mid-size and even niche firms, new talent is always being accepted for training, which the Foundation works to support. 

Patrick Dunne, Chair of the EY Foundation, explained: “Helping young people to be more employable is only half the story. The Foundation builds employability skills, but it also supports young people into employment by working with both sides of the labour market. 

“It is through scaling up our relationships with employers that we will achieve sustainable, long-term impact.” 

Spread across the UK, the Foundation’s efforts are planned to expand in the following year with programmes for care leavers and focus on postcode inequality. 

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