Twelve school students from Yorkshire and Humberside are currently taking part in three weeks of paid work experience at EY’s offices in Leeds and Hull, as part of a national initiative to help students get ahead in the world of business.
Smart Futures, which comes to Leeds and Hull for the first time this year, is designed to give young people a chance to get the experience they need to get ahead in work and enhance their employment prospects.
Just one in six Year 12 applicants were lucky enough to secure a place on the ten month programme.
The 12 successful students were selected from a wide range of schools across Yorkshire and Humberside.
To be eligible to apply, they must either be in receipt of free school meals or the first in their families to be considering a place at university, and be predicted a minimum of 300 UCAS (universities and college admissions service) points or equivalent.
During the three weeks they will learn about how professional services works, meet entrepreneurs, and work with senior people from EY and other industries from financial services to the arts.
The 12 students – nine of which will be based in EY’s Leeds office and three in the firm’s Hull base – will also get valuable tips on writing CVs, application and interview advice, as well as an EY Foundation mentor throughout Year 13.
Alistair Denton, EY partner and Smart Futures sponsor in Yorkshire and Humberside, said:
“This initiative provides a fantastic opportunity to have a great experience of work and to learn more about different types of businesses, including professional services.
“Many of the young people eligible for the programme don’t typically think that a career in professional services is an opportunity available to them. We hope that by the end of their three weeks they will realise that it is.
“Social mobility continues to be an issue across the UK and with youth unemployment remaining high, programmes like Smart Futures are vital for building stronger communities and arming young people with the right skills for the workplace.”
Owned and delivered by UK charity the EY Foundation – launched on July 1 2014 by the professional services firm to help young people find routes into employment and education, and support entrepreneurs – the Smart Futures programme is currently available to 101 students across Leeds, Hull, Manchester, London, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The EY Foundation is looking to expand the programme into other major cities in the UK.