Twelve young people from Bradford are joining the Ministry of Justice on a new social mobility programme.
The ten month Smart Futures programme is being run by the Ministry of Justice with the charity EY Foundation and support from Bradford Council.
It aims to give young people facing barriers to employment paid work experience, work place skills and mentor support to help them fulfil their potential and get a job they want.
Students participating in the programme come from schools across Bradford including Bradford College, Titus Salt School, St Benedict’s Catholic College, Belle Vue Girls’ Academy, St Bede’s and St Joseph’s Catholic College.
The programme will give them a taste of the range of work that goes on in the Ministry – students will be given real projects and be treated as members of staff during that time.
Shaun McNally CBE, the Ministry of Justice’s Social Mobility Champion, said: “We want the most talented people working for us whatever their background and this partnership with the EY Foundation is helping us to do just that. It’s also important that we have staff with different perspectives and experiences as the justice system touches on the lives of people from all walks of life.”
The EY Foundation, which is overseeing the programme, already successfully runs Smart Futures in 15 towns and cities across the UK. Set up in 2014, the Foundation’s programmes have supported nearly 3,000 young people across the UK so far.
Jodie McNally, who runs EY Foundation’s programmes in the North, said: “The Foundation aims to make more young people in the region employable by collaborating with local businesses to reduce barriers to work through programmes like Smart Futures.
“We believe every employer, regardless of their size or sector, plays a vital role in giving young people a good start to their working lives, so we’re proud to be working with the Ministry of Justice.”
Young people who complete the programme achieve an adult management qualification from the Chartered Management Institute. 70% of those who complete the programme say they feel more confident about finding a job after the programme, while 53% said they met with at least three employers or employees during the course. In addition, 69 % said the programme helped them decide what they wanted to do next.
Bradford has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the country and is one of 12 social mobility opportunity areas in the UK. Initiatives like the EY Foundation’s Smart Futures programme provide young people with quality paid work experience and give them the opportunity to develop key skills employers are looking for.