Sixteen-year-old girl who inspired Workfinder app opens doors for thousands of young women in Manchester
20 Nov 2017

● New ‘Trip Advisor’ style App connects students to work experience in less than 5 minutes; ● Manchester the first city to benefit from up to 5,000 work experience scholarships for 16- 18 year-old women to work in digital companies and charities; ● Funded by £200k investment from social tech investor, Nominet Trust; ● Preparing girls for jobs of the future the ‘challenge of a generation’.

MANCHESTER, UK – 20 November 2017: Gov-tech education charity Founders4Schools (F4S), whose mission is to connect inspiring business leaders with schools, has today announced the creation of a scholarship fund to benefit thousands of young women across Manchester with work experience opportunities. These roles are on offer to girls aged 16 to 18, as the charity puts powerful tools into the hands of girls looking for work experience in Manchester’s thriving digital sector. The placements will be available through F4S’ ground-breaking work experience service Workfinder, and was inspired by sixteen-year-old Maitri Panchal while she was on work experience with the charity herself. Workfinder enables young people to filter preferences, share recommendations and connect with great companies in as little as five minutes. Work Experience helps young people grow their skills and businesses benefit from much needed talent, but the reliance on informal networks means that many pupils in deprived areas secured no work experience at all last year. Last week, UK digital businesses across the nation came together to pledge to offer, via Workfinder, week-long work-experience placements that are needed by the 1.8 million 16-18 year-old students in UK schools. The opportunities are offered in fast-growing digital and tech Manchester businesses, including Regit, Tangerine, The Juice Academy, The eWord, Social Chain and Code They help young people unlock their potential and kick-start their careers using STEM skills. The Manchester scholarships for girls have been made possible through funding from social tech investors Nominet Trust, amongst others. Speaking at the Girls School’s Association Annual Conference in Manchester, Sherry Coutu, CBE, Chair of Founders4Schools and The ScaleUp Institute, said: “The current work experience model is broken. According to the ScaleUp Institute, 90% of UK scaleup businesses are concerned about a lack of skills post-Brexit but existing structures do not allow UK plc. to foster home-grown skills.” She continued: “93% of teachers say that work experience boosts student attainment and aspirations. Great companies are learning environments and need talent to grow; young people need help to find their passion in life. It’s the challenge of a generation, and I hope Workfinder will help them discover their route to a meaningful career.” Founders4Schools’ mission is to put the power in the hands of young people. Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust added: “Nominet Trust’s purpose is to transform lives with tech - but that’s only possible if we give the next generation, regardless of their background and circumstance, the opportunity to develop digital skills. We’re excited about continuing our partnership with Founders4Schools by funding 5,000 placements available through Workfinder in major UK cities, because of the opportunity it gives to young women to develop careers in STEM subjects, boosting their contribution to the UK’s growing digital economy.” Chris Green, CRO at Regit, said “Cultivating young talent is massively important for UK business and something we work hard to do at Regit. I recently spoke at a Founders4Schools event and it was genuinely one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. It is exciting to be part of a programme which will help shape our country moving forward." Simone Roche, Founder, Northern Power Women, said "I welcome this brilliant initiative to give young women in Manchester the opportunity to grow their skills. For the whole region it's vital that we grow our talent base and foster gender equality. I urge others to also support the work Founders4Schools are doing." Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General, CBI, said: “Only a small portion of school students get the kind of valuable work-based placements that we know help open young eyes to the possibilities of different careers. I welcome the launch of Workfinder, and would encourage businesses of all sizes to open up opportunities to share.” Workfinder can be downloaded by students to connect to these and other work experience opportunities free of charge from the app store. Teachers can find out about Workfinder here: Parents can find out about workfinder here: Businesses willing to host work experience at their companies can sign up here:

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