The EY Foundation’s Smart Futures is a ten month programme for Year 12 students that is now running in 16 locations across the UK during the 2018 summer holidays. Starting with a paid work experience placement of three weeks, Smart Futures recruits will gain a variety of transferable skills that will give them a head start in their career. The programme aims to make the young people involved more employable by helping them to get a job after school or go onto higher education.
The initiative aims to offer quality experiences to young people that might find it difficult to access them otherwise. To be eligible to apply students must:
- Be in Year 12 in a state school
- Have accessed free school meals within the last 6 years
- Be studying towards 3 A Levels or their equivalent
- Be willing to complete online tests and an application form
In order to harness and develop talent across all sectors, and diversify its offer from traditional industries such as as accountancy, law and finance, the programme aims to cater for young people studying any range of subjects.
The Structure of the Work Experience
During the first two weeks of the programme, the young people take part in sessions and workshops that cover a wide range of topics to help make them more employable, and widen their understanding of the working world. These sessions cover topics such as:
- How to network effectively and build positive relationships
- Communication styles in the workplace
- How to be an effective team leader
- Dragon's Den
- CV reviews, interview practice and job application techniques
In the third week, the young people spend time working on real-life client projects within various organisations, offering them exposure to tangible experiences of the working world.
Additional Benefits and Experiences
All Smart Futures recruits will have a mentor throughout the 10 month experience. Their mentor will support and advise the young people on one of the biggest career choices they will make: their first step into working life.
Smart Futures recruits will also be invited to a series of alumni events throughout their final school year, offering them networking opportunities and a chance to gain advice from peers.
On successful completion of the programme, students will also benefit from gaining a Level 2 CMI (Chartered Management Institution) qualification in Team Leading. This is an adult management qualification setting students apart from their peers.