Giving a HeadStart into employment for young people that need it most

10 Dec 2021

Lendlease supported 150 local Southwark students at risk of becoming not in education, employment or training (NEET) through HeadStart Action programme

HeadStart Action is a personal and social development programme created by youth charity ‘The Challenge’, in partnership with Lendlease and the Mayor of London. It aims to bridge the gap between school and employment for young people aged 14-18 years at risk of becoming not in education, employment or training (NEET). Through a tailored 16-week programme, students engage in a number of activities to help develop employability skills, build experiences that employers are looking for, and undertake personal development. 

This is delivered through activities such as:
  • A social action project, empowering young people to instigate social change and presenting findings at a showcase event with a range of professionals
  • Employability skills training workshops
  • Career-focused insight days with corporate partners, like Lendlease, to learn about career opportunities available
  • Mock interviews to secure work experience placements
Lendlease supported The Challenge to develop and deliver this programme in Southwark for three years from 2017-2020. In total, 150 young people from five schools local to Lendlease’s Elephant Park development took part in the programme. Positive impacts were reported from each cohort:

87% felt capable of working with others as part of a team. 

89% felt they are prepared for further education/training/employment.  

79% felt they understand the skills that employers are looking for.

Evidence shows that once someone becomes NEET, they face greater difficulties re-engaging with the education system and securing meaningful training and employment opportunities. This increases their risk of downward social-economic mobility and increased of social inequality. 

Providing the right support to young people at risk of becoming NEET is critical, which HeadStart Action helps to provide. By communicating quality career pathways, promoting social action and supporting personal and professional development, HeadStart Action is helping young people to pursue education, employment and training opportunities that interest them following the programme. 

Following the success of the programme in Southwark, HeadStart Action expanded into many more London boroughs. It is now delivered by charity London Youth, in partnership with corporates and grass route community organisations across the capital.  

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