Junior Board 2018 Launches in Leeds During National Apprenticeships Week

Charlotte Sweeney, OBE, Inclusion, Diversity and Equality expert and author champions social mobility student programme

Creating Inclusive Cultures (CIC) is delighted to launch its first Junior Board event in Leeds. The programme was successfully piloted in 2017, and the first session of this year’s programme kicked off this week, during National Apprenticeships Week.

The Junior Board is designed to give young people from diverse backgrounds direct experience with business leaders and employees within prestigious organisations. In Leeds, the sessions will be hosted by Direct Line, EY and the Yorkshire Building Society.

Three local secondary schools are participating: Roundhay School, Carr Manor Community School and Cockburn School. All are schools have a diverse student population and CIC business partners will be working with selected year 10 pupils, aged 14-15 from these schools.

The programme has two main purposes:

  • Future diverse talent – who can share their perspectives with senior leaders and increase their awareness and confidence. It will also enable the students to gain core employability skills around leadership, resilience, team-building and communication, as well as prepare them for
  • Employers – will be introduced to future, diverse talent and gain insights from the talent, so they can consider how their culture, practices and processes need to change to attract and retain talent.

Charlotte Sweeney, OBE, CIC Founder commented: “Junior Board gives companies the opportunity to hear young peoples’ perspectives on their organisations and how they are recruiting, as well as a sense of what young people might want from the world of work in the future.”

Caitlin Hartley, Assistant Director, Diversity & Inclusiveness at EY added: “We are delighted to be involved with Junior Board again this year and are looking forward to meeting the new participants. EY is committed to removing barriers to professional services and opening the door to diverse talent. Junior Board allows us to hear first-hand, the challenges and opportunities young people today are facing.”

The programme will run over three sessions over three months from March to May. During the sessions, the students will work with junior volunteer employees before joining the Junior Board Bootcamp, a series of workshops around job descriptions and what makes a dream employer. In the final session, the students will present their findings and provide feedback to senior leaders from the organisations involved.

Fiona Triller, CIC Programme Director said: “Junior Board started after a discussion around social mobility and why young people from certain areas of the city were not accessing the job market. Several CIC partners then collaborated to provide a unique opportunity for students from schools located in deprived areas.”

Since Creating Inclusive Cultures piloted the programme, there have been several other initiatives to encourage schools and employers to work collaboratively. A recent policy paper from the Department for Education, Careers strategy: making the most of everyone’s skills and talents is part of the government’s plan to make Britain fairer, improve social mobility and offer opportunity to everyone.