Download attached PDF release LONDON, 16 January: Business leaders gathered this morning to discuss how business and education must work together to inspire the next generation, provide them with work experience opportunities and empower them to explore the world of work on their own terms. At the central London event, co-hosted with Pearson, the global education provider and publisher, and the City of London Corporation, Sherry Coutu CBE announced the official launch of Workfinder, with the backing of over 23,000 leaders from over 8,000 businesses. The workplace experience app aims to help young people to discover career opportunities in their local area, dramatically opening up access to meaningful work placements for millions of young people in the UK. The Chair of Founders4Schools and The ScaleUp Institute spoke at the event alongside technology pioneer and co-founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman, addressing the crucial importance of work experience and looking at how business can inspire the next generation and make valuable connections to tomorrow’s talent. Other advocates for the campaign included some of the UK’s most influential business leaders: • Baroness Martha Lane Fox CBE • Rohan Silva, co-founder of Second Home • Eileen Burbidge, partner at Passion Capital, Chair of Tech City UK and member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group • Stephen Kelly, CEO of Sage Workfinder puts the young person at the centre of the search process and enables them to gain work experience and apprenticeship roles with fast-growing businesses within their local communities. It has the clear objective to provide 1.8m16-18 year olds with the work experience they deserve, and businesses on the platform include Pearson, Hilton, Unruly, B&Q, Raspberry Pi, LinkedIn, Babylon, Sage, Mediacom and Zoopla. Sherry Coutu CBE, chair of Founders4Schools, said: “The UK’s skills crisis is building into a perfect storm with young people unprepared for the workplace and businesses unable to access a pipeline of skilled talent. “Workfinder seeks to tackle this problem head-on, providing a model for work experience that places young people at its heart, opening access to meaningful placements in the country’s leading businesses. This will build a pipeline of talent that unlocks the potential of the next generation of leaders and pioneers.” Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, said: “Creating the conditions for talent to thrive is critical to delivering the technological innovation that will inspire tomorrow’s economy.” “Workfinder has a significant role to play in this. By providing young people with vital experience of their future careers, it creates an environment to learn, develop and inspire talented individuals – this will be the secret to building the next LinkedIn, Google, or Facebook.” Sarah Wood, co-founder of Unruly, said: “As a high-growth tech company, finding the best talent for our business has always been a major priority for Unruly. Providing work experience for passionate and driven young people is a fantastic way to ensure not only that they are realising their vast potential, but also that the UK’s talent pool is developing the skills that businesses actually need. “Through the brilliantly straightforward Workfinder platform, we were able to host a talented and enthusiastic work experience student at Unruly, and know that they found the experience as rewarding as we did. Working in tech is a rewarding and well-remunerated career choice that should be available to everyone, regardless of their gender, background or who they know. We look forward to welcoming many more Workfinder students in 2018." Jack Parsons, chair of the Youth Advisory Council, Workfinder, said: “The availability and quality of work experience is the biggest single gap in our education system today. As a young person in my early 20s, I have been through the school system and never truly understood the importance and value of proper work experience. It is so important that young people are given the opportunity to discover the world of work and learning beyond school.” Media contacts: Travers Lee, Workfinder firstname.lastname@example.org Paul Southall, Seven Hills email@example.com About Founders4Schools: ENDS Founders4Schools (F4S) builds smart connections between schools and the world of work. As a GovTech charity operating in the education sector, it is dedicated to improving the ecosystem for scaleups by closing the skills gap. F4S works with enterprise advisors, school coordinators and head teachers in primary and secondary schools throughout England and Scotland to help their pupils aged 8 to 16 reach the milestone of at least four encounters with employers each year and to help their pupils aged 16-24 reach the milestone of 140 hours of work experience placements. F4S works nationally and locally with organisations including the Science Park Association, the LEP Network, LinkedIn, Duedil, Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC), the CBI, FSB, IoD, DWY, Royal Society, British Chambers of Commerce, LEPs and Local Authorities. National partners include the BBC, Barclays Bank, The Hunter Foundation, Villiers Park Educational Trust, The Evolution Education Trust, Prince’s Trust, UFI, Peter Cundill Foundation and Nominet Trust, FutureLearn, Freeformers, Career Ready, TeachFirst and Young Enterprise. Local partners include regional government such as Camden Council, as well as public, private and third sector business, and community support groups and networks. Their programmes help educators to connect with successful, growing businesses through a wide variety of career and business encounters. Their work-experience service, Workfinder, which is available on mobile phones, puts the young person at the centre of the search process and enables them to gain work experience and apprenticeship roles with fast-growing businesses within their local communities. The programme is sustained by more than 2,000 partners and 35,000 business leaders of startups and scaleups who volunteer their time. More than 110,000 young people have had on average two encounters with business leaders. After such encounters, 96% reported feeling inspired by the speakers, 87% said they wished to go into business (versus the national average of 60%) and 54% were keen to go on to study STEM subjects (twice the national average).