Youth employability celebrated at Founders4Schools awards

The annual awards welcomed a selection of inspirational women in STEAM to speak at the ceremony at The Francis Crick Institute in London

Last week, Founders4Schools celebrated and awarded the role models in its community who are doing the most to connect students of all backgrounds to the vast opportunities within the world of work.

Sherry Coutu CBE, Founder and Chairman of Founders4Schools, and Jack Parsons, CEO of youth-first marketplace Big Youth Group, presented four awards to the teacher, employer, local authority, and student who have gone above and beyond this year to inspire young people along their career paths.

The four award categories included the Career Ambassador Award, the Educator Award, the Community Award, and the Partner Award, all of which attracted nominations from the length and breadth of the UK.

The awards ceremony followed one of the Founders4Schools events at The Francis Crick Institute to celebrate Ada Lovelace Day, drawing together 200 students from participating schools in the City of London and Camden, aged 12 to 16, enjoying inspiring talks from a diverse group of women in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths).

Speakers included former Chief Technical Officer for the Obama Administration, Megan Smith, VP International for Snapchat Inc., Claire Valoti, King’s College Engineering student, Amazon Bursary recipient, Fatima Benkhaled, and Founders4Schools’ data scientist, Larissa Suzuki, who won Female Engineer of the Year in 2017.

The Francis Crick Institute

Founders4Schools’ mission as a charity is to connect today’s young people to leaders in their community to solve tomorrow’s problems. We aim to provide young people with encounters with employers each year while they are between the ages of 6 and 16, and 100 hours of work experience placements between the age of 16 and 24,” said Sherry Coutu CBE, Founder and Chairman of Founders4Schools.

“We would not be able to help communities address their skills gap without the hard work and dedication of educators, curious students, and passionate business people who are leading the way.”

“Together, our thriving network has supported around 216,000 young people to date. Having brokered more than 655,000 student-employee encounters means that on average, these pupils have met at least three business leaders in their community to date. These crucial encounters empower young people across the country to make better-informed decisions about their futures within the current curriculum and funding envelopes.”

Janet Coyle, Director Trade & Growth, London and Partners, and winner of the Career Ambassador Award said: “Founders4Schools was born out of ‘Silicon Valley comes to the UK’ back in 2011 when we invited some of our entrepreneurs from the US to speak in schools. This had an extraordinary impact on the level of interest of students wanting to study maths and science, and that’s when we decided there was a real need to establish Founders4Schools.”

“My passion for Founders4Schools has never waned since, and the way this charity has scaled is phenomenal. There have been hundreds of thousands of student and entrepreneur encounters, with the efficiency and localisation of the platform making it so much easier for schools to find the entrepreneurs within their local community.”

Award Winners:

  • Career Ambassador Award: Janet Coyle, Director Trade & Growth, London & Partners
  • Educator Award: Alan Hamilton, Depute Head Teacher, Stirling High School
  • Community Award: The North East
  • The Partner Award: John Riddell, Education Manager, Business in the Community

Founders4Schools’ technology platform helps teachers facilitate student-employer encounters in their classrooms as easily as buying a book on Amazon, they help students find work experience placements as easy as they would send someone a message on snapchat, and they make it as easy for leaders get a talent pipeline as booking a flight. The charity operates in England and Scotland where some school’s pupils have met 10 leaders each in the past 12 months and where in some local authorities 100% of children have had an encounter in their classroom because the teachers find the service so easy to use.