Founders4Schools celebrates connecting 80,000 young people to 30,000 business leaders


This week, at the incredible new Francis Crick Institute, Founders4Schools celebrated the educators and business leaders who have worked together to connect over 80,000 young people with its nationwide network of more than 30,000 business leaders.

The Crick Institute, Founders4Schools celebrate visionary teachers working with Britain's business elite to slam shut the skills gap

The Founders4Schools Judges considered nominations drawn from thousands of educators, business leaders and local government partners who use F4S services to help young people understand the world of work they will enter after school. It was incredible to see so many fantastic examples of educators, and the transformational impact they are having on employability within the existing curriculum.

Research shows student-employer encounters boost both employability and earning potential by supplementing the skills exams test for. Students with four employer encounters are 86% less likely to become NEET (not in education, employment or training) and three times more likely to consider studying a STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) subject.

The well-known serial-entrepreneur & philanthropist, Sherry Coutu CBE, Founder and Chairman of Founders4Schools, presented Awards to individuals and organisations doing the most to inspire students and prepare them for the rapidly changing world of work.

Award categories included ‘diversity’ for the individual who had inspired girls by drawing the most women into the classroom and ‘STEM’ for the individual who empowered future scientists and were judged by representatives from organisations including Kano, EE, London & Partners and Women on Boards UK. Also recognised were the business leaders who have played a vital role in Founders4Schools initiatives, including the new work experience initiative Workfinder.

Sherry Coutu CBE, Founder and Chairman of Founders4Schools, said, “Founders4Schools inspires students by connecting them with business leaders, to show them a wider world of STEM and entrepreneurialism is out there, by partnering with amazing teachers and passionate business leaders. Our work would not be possible without them.”

“Every teacher and leader recognised by these awards is focused on the importance of workplace encounters in preparing young people for employment. Together we are supporting businesses and educators in achieving the goal of four encounters between the ages of 13-16.

Founders4Schools’ mission is to improve the life chances of students by giving them connections in their community who help them discover the skills and pathways that will be relevant when they leave education. Ultimately, we want all students to be well-informed about their future options, motivated to succeed and to lead enterprising lives.”

Business Minister, Margot James, said:  “Young people are our most valuable resource, and in helping them to succeed, we ensure Britain’s success for years to come. That’s why we are working to ensure that we build an economy that works for everyone.

“Founders4Schools is doing great work, not only inspiring young people to fulfil their potential, but also connecting businesses with untapped reserves of talent and laying the foundation for the next generation of entrepreneurs and skilled professionals.”

Award Winners:

  • Career Talk ChampionKathryn Loughnan, Avonbourne College, Bournemouth, Dorset LEP, England
  • Newcomer of the Year Award: Gemma Jackson, Leicester College Employability and Enterprise Coordinator
  • Diversity ChampionSam Millichap, Birmingham Independent College, Birmingham, Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, England
  • Ambassador of the year: Stewart Carruth, Chief Executive of Stirling Council, Scotland
  • Inspiration of the Year: Paul Jundu, Owner and Director of Onboard Corrugated Ltd in Birmingham, Birmingham and Solihull LEP
  • Innovator of the Year: Nick Cheese, School Coordinator from Greenwood Academy in Birmingham, Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, England
  • Local Government Partner of the Year: Camden, London
  • Local Enterprise Partnership of the year: Alison Giles, Enterprise Coordinator with Thames Valley Berkshire LEP
  • Super-User Award:Carina Lindars from The Leigh UTC, South East LEP, England
  • STEM Impact Award: Empowering Future Scientists: Martin Macmillan from McLaren High School in Callander, Stirling Council, Scotland
  • Workplace Visits: Sam McLoughlin, Studio West & Catherine Boland, from Newcastle, North East LEP


About Founders4Schools

F4S was co-created by teachers, parents and the leaders of the business community to solve the problem of youth employability and the skills gap that plagues employers.F4S is now the UK’s largest charity dedicated to helping close the skills gap by inspiring young people about the jobs of tomorrow by giving them access to leaders of growing businesses

We combine data-science with the power of local communities in order to capture the imagination of young people and give them the confidence and skills to believe they can create the innovations that will define our future.

To date, Founders4Schools has introduced more than 80,000 students to at least three business leaders and has a nationwide network of more than 30,000 business leaders.

Download our annual report here

About Workfinder

A wholly owned subsidiary of Founders4Schools, Workfinder helps young people find work experience with startups, scaleups, small, medium & large companies from their mobile phones.

About The Francis Crick Institute

The Institute which opened last summer is in the London Borough of Camden, and sits amid a unique cluster of scientific skill, leading hospitals and one of the world's top universities, UCL. The Institute is dedicated to research excellence. Its work is helping to develop new treatments for illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, neurodegenerative conditions and infectious diseases. The institute does not hold events open to the public.