Career Ready at 18
How employer engagement boosts local social mobility, attainment, and wellbeing for young people
Employer Partnerships: Partnerships@careerready.org.uk
I am delighted to introduce this new report by Career Ready and Opinium, which looks at all the ways Career Ready has made a difference over the last 18 years. As a former Career Ready student I know first-hand the changes it can bring.
For as long as I can remember, I have been incredibly shy. Throughout school I always received the same feedback: I needed to speak up and participate. But it seemed impossible. I was worried about standing out in a job or university application, and how I would handle the pressure of an interview.
Career Ready completely changed this for me.
Not only has Career Ready opened new doors for me, it has given me the confidence and skills I needed to strive for my new-found ambitions.
I am now looking at becoming a Career Ready mentor myself so I can give other young people the support which changed my life. I urge you to do the same, you won’t regret it.
Career Ready alumna, 2017
Marketing Degree Apprentice
Career Ready at 18 ?
We were founded in 2002 by leading business figures with a mission: to boost social mobility by empowering young people and giving them a network of workplace opportunities and support.
Through our network of employers, volunteers, schools and colleges, we provide young people with a structured,programme built around rich, authentic experiences of the world of work including mentoring, skills masterclasses and paid internships – all while still at school.
To mark what is the 18th year of our work, we have worked closely with Opinium, thanks to the support of Citi Group and the Citi Foundation, to evidence the impact this activity has made to young lives over the years, capture the progress made by our alumni, and discover how we can best support more young people.
Meritocracy has all too often been portrayed as a truth in UK education and employment. With social mobility and improved life chances being achievable for all those with talent and hard work, regardless of their background.
This story, however, is disconnected from reality. While talent is everywhere, the UK is short on opportunities and positive outcomes for young people from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds.
Over the years we have been able to support over 150,000 young people in all areas of the UK, and give them the platform they need to compete with their more advantaged peers in both education and employment.
This research brings together, for the first time, the difference we have made to young lives and local communities over the last 18 years, and practical solutions to how social mobility can be boosted.
What we found
By connecting young people with the world of work we are able to make a real difference at a crucial point in their education: boosting their confidence and empowering them to reach new heights in education and the workplace. The four key findings of our research were:
Increased academic and career attainment
- Increased academic attainment
- Stable, full-time futures
- Job satisfaction
- Workplace confidence
Our research demonstrates that, prior to starting the programme, many participants found themselves on a path towards low achievement, little work experience and a limited social network that was unlikely to improve their education, career, and life prospects.
However, in partnership with educators, employers, and other third-sector organisations, our activities have had a positive impact on their academic achievement and core workplace skills.
Enhanced local social mobility
- The power of internships: stronger, local roots
- Enhanced local social capital
- The importance of mentoring
Crucially, we found that our programme, specifically a paid internship and mentor, helps boost young people’s local social capital and social mobility.
Such support changes young lives by widening their perspectives and providing a long-term network, without taking them far from where they currently live.
Wellbeing through workplace experiences
- Confidence to find the right path
- Increased self-esteem
- Higher life satisfaction
- Stronger personal relationships
As has already been shown, active employer engagement has a significant impact on the educational attainment and future earnings of the young people, but exposure to these opportunities can also have a more personal impact on their lives, especially with their confidence and aspirations.
What we recommend
Based on these findings, we have three core recommendations for policy makers, employers, and other organisations working in education and the third sector. Each one is designed to boost social mobility, level up local areas, and provide much needed support for young people aged 15-18 at a crucial point in their education and life.