Ahead Partnership Makes The Grade With £250,000 Funding Success

Ahead Partnership has secured nearly £250,000 from the Careers & Enterprise Company Innovation Fund to extend their Make the Grade programme.

One of only 33 organisations across the country to receive funding to expand programmes that will support almost a quarter of a million young people between the ages of 11-18 years to prepare them for the world of work. This will mean that our Make the Grade programme will extend to engage with over 27000 students from at least 57 new schools across the Leeds City Region, Tees Valley and Birmingham. Even more young people will be able to access the wide variety of exciting activities that are offered with employers through their secondary school education.

As a winning programme Make the Grade was chosen as it demonstrated a particular focus on employer encounters, has a track record of success and has the ability to scale up to do more, particularly in areas that were considered by the Careers & Company Innovation to be ‘Cold Spots’.

“Winning this funding to expand our successful Make the Grade programme still further is a really exciting achievement and opportunity” said Stephanie Burras, CEO Ahead Partnership. “We will be able to rapidly develop the programme in the agreed areas and bring in more businesses to the programme as well as new schools. Make the Grade brings together students & businesses to unlock potential in both. It has proved to be a highly effective model and we have ambitious plans for it. As we celebrate our 10th year we are more than ready for the challenge!”

Claudia Harris, CEO of The Careers & Enterprise Company, said: “We are delighted to award Ahead Partnership with funding to continue its amazing work. There are a huge number of extraordinary organisations working across the country to connect business to schools and colleges, creating encounters that inspire and inform young people about the future. We are pleased The Careers & Enterprise Company Investment Fund will support a set of those organisations to reach nearly 250,000 further young people, especially in ‘Cold Spot’ areas of greatest need. We look forward to working with Ahead Partnership and seeing the impact it continues to have on the young people it works with”.

The fund has been created to increase the number of encounters young people have with employers while in education which, according to research, dramatically reduces their chances of becoming NEET and increases future salary by on average 18%.

Despite this evidence, currently only 40% of schools offer employer engagement to young people with careers and enterprise provision varying dramatically across England. According to the Careers & Enterprise Company’s ‘Cold Spots’ report those in northern, coastal and rural regions have the least support in England.

The £5 million fund administered by The Careers & Enterprise Company has secured matched funding which will mean, in total, £9.5 million will be distributed to the 33 winning organisations. The programmes are located across England, with 75% of funding directed to ‘Cold Spot’ areas. They were selected following a rigorous process against key criteria defined according to research that shows young people need encounters, information and a plan in order to succeed.