Launched in 2014, The EY Foundation is on a mission to reduce the barriers many young people face as they enter the world of higher education and employment. Those from low-income backgrounds are less likely to have access to career advice and social networks, so the Foundation has stepped in to help bridge the gap.
In addition to employability skills training, their ‘Our Future’ and ‘Smart Futures’ programmes pair young people with experienced mentors to guide them into the working world and help them secure employment.
Both ‘Smart Futures’ and ‘Our Future’ offer 2 weeks of paid work experience, 10 months of mentoring support, and a CMI level 2 adult qualification. Each programme gives the participants mentors to support them with skills such as communication, team leading, presentation and effective networking.
In the EY Foundation’s last reporting year (July 2019-June 2020) they supported nearly 7000 young people in their journey into employment.
In 2020, Guider has teamed up with the EY Foundation to bring easy, accessible mentoring to more young people.
David Adeniken joined the program in 2017 and was paired with mentor Alexandra Chan, a Cyber Security Associate in EY’s Managed Services department. Struggling between making the decision of entering the workforce and entering university, Alexandra helped him learn about the other options available and he elected to begin a degree apprenticeship.
Research by Upreach shows that state school students were less likely to have access to career advice at school, complete work experience, or have access to a network. Private school students were 45% more likely than state school students to have career help at school. The EY Foundation works to fill in these gaps by providing the guidance that motivated students, such as David, are looking for.
David was taught about building his self-confidence, being proactive, and was able to learn from Alexandra as she led by example. EY offered him the opportunity to tackle not only Mount Toubkal in South West Morocco, but the fundraising for it too, showing him that he can achieve anything he puts his mind to.
Mark sought out the EY Foundation as he needed job guidance. He was placed on a 2-week work experience position with a construction company. He quickly became part of the team, learning from other employees and his managers. His managers watched as he became more open, forthcoming and grew in confidence. With his new skills and new growth in confidence, Mark knew that he wanted to become a plumber and understood the journey he needed to take.
Many ambitious students such as Mark and David take on the challenge of building their future, seeking skills such as ‘job seeking’, ‘CV Writing’ and ‘networking skills’. The mentees had identified where they most sought help, and with the support of EY Foundation were able to get that boost they needed.
Research shows that 80% of jobs are found through networking, and private school students were 45% more likely to have accessed new jobs through family and friends, compared to state school students. This is why networking skills are especially useful for those from low-income backgrounds, who are least likely to have connections.
With Guider, the EY Foundation has been able to connect mentees and mentors virtually across the world. Giving young people access to a wider range of mentors than ever before. Guider simplifies the matching process and makes it easier for the programme managers to report on the impact of the mentoring programme.
The EY Foundation found that 22% of the programme participants were worried about the impact Covid-19 would have on their work experience opportunities, and 46% were worried about the impact Covid would have on exams. With Guider, their participants are able to access mentoring and learning opportunities at home with minimal disruption regardless of lockdown.
In their 2019 to 2020 impact report, the EY Foundation found that:
However, as a result of the programme:
It's incredible to see what the EY Foundation has achieved over the years and the progress young people are able to make when given opportunities they hadn’t previously had.
We look forward to continuing working with the EY Foundation to bring simple, accessible mentoring to the employees of the future.