5th March, 2021
What is FastFutures?
Suitable for 18-24 year olds, our aim is to increase the employability of young talent from diverse backgrounds by preparing them for the digital workplace. With over 2000 learners through the programme, we now want to grow and help thousands more.
To do that, we are looking for employer partners to support this scaling of the programme – helping to create a diverse, digital-ready pool of talent for the country and for your organisations.
For Employers, FastFutures is an opportunity to:
- Support youth employment and Diversity & Inclusion through the funding of FastFutures scholarships
- Engage employees and develop their skills through the mentoring of young people as they start out in their careers
- Gain fresh, innovative ideas through business cases worked on by young learners
- Post jobs and apprenticeships and hire from a bright, diverse, work-ready pool of talent
At the beginning of 2020, in the face of a global pandemic, the country faced the sharpest economic contraction in modern history. We quickly identified that the cohort of 800,000+ young people leaving education would suffer the most, looking to start employment with less opportunity. At the same time, the country has never been more in need of technology skills. We ran the risk of inflicting a double blow on ourselves: a wasted generation and a crippling shortage of the digital and technology skills the country needs. We set about providing fair access to employers, when they are especially hard to reach right now. In doing so, we are solving 3 needs:
The Need for Digital Skills
The country has never been more in need of digital skills training - A reported 17.3m working people do not have the essential digital skills required for work, and within 20 years, 90% of all jobs will require digital skills. 40% of employers cite lack of skills as main reason for not filling entry level roles
The Need for Diversity
There is also a wealth of evidence that achieving diversity – of thought, gender and culture – increases revenue and fosters innovation in organisations. Diversity and inclusion is no longer a moral imperative but a business necessity for improved performance. A 2018 study by Boston Consulting Group revealed that “increasing the diversity of leadership teams leads to more and better innovation and improved financial performance.” Inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be leaders in their sector and companies with above average diversity produced a greater proportion of revenue from innovation (45% of total) than from companies with below average diversity (26%).
The Need for Employment
And at the same time, youth unemployment among 18-29 year olds is set to hit the highest levels since the mid ‘80s.
What does involvement with FastFutures look like?
FastFutures is unique due to how close an engagement we have with the companies we work with. We are looking to engage with more employers to sponsor places on the programme and take an active involvement in FastFutures, enhancing their learning by providing real-world examples as an opportunity to apply their knowledge in the workplace. We organise and facilitate at least 2 of the following during every module:
- A Business Case: an example of a real challenge your teams are working on, with the opportunity for learners to present their product, campaign or business idea back to a panel of judges.
- A Fast Talk, hearing from industry thought leaders on specific topics relating to the module they’re working on
- A 1:1 mentoring session with a mentor from your employee base
- A leadership Q&A panel given by top CEOs and senior leaders from our employer network
- A virtual site visit that interviews your current employees about ‘a day in the life of’ their role in certain themes relating to the course content
- A mock interview to give them tangible experience before graduation, with formal feedback from our employers
Notes from our partners
Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General
Investing in the next generation is investing in our country’s future. Helping talented young people from all walks of life develop the skills highly valued by employers will not only improve their career prospects, but create a more inclusive economy. Business must do all it can to unleash young people's talent and minimise the scarring economic impact of COVID on their futures.
Jacqueline de Rojas, President of techUK
To fully realise the UK’s phenomenal digital potential, we must address the growing skills gap and recognise that 90% of all jobs will have a digital element to them. FastFutures reminds us that the time for change is now, and each and every single one of us has an important role to play. We must not abandon the next generation as we drive towards economic recovery with social inclusion at its heart and with digital skills as the nation’s competitive advantage.
Mark Bretton, Chair, Local Enterprise Network
A programme that supports and enables our young people to gain the digital and personal skills they’ll need for their future careers is a great initiative. The fact it’s backed by some of the leading businesses in the UK and prioritises underrepresented groups will target those who need it most. We look forward to working with the programme team to see how LEPs can use our existing, proven skills infrastructure to accelerate implementation and help our young people to access the opportunities they deserve.
Feedback from our Employer Partner Programme Leads
We're really impressed by the level of rigour and creativity and expertise. You’re approaching things quite differently, and the quality of the learning and curriculum design is so thorough. You've thought creatively around everything and placed a really important emphasis on Diversity and Inclusion in the programme and its why.
FastFutures is a great example of the sorts of initiatives HEE are here to support and facilitate. It's a great project, very well run, very well resourced, and it's being done at scale. It's also cross-industry which is great for the NHS to get involved with. It's solving issues with COVID and a wider problem of youth unemployment. It ticks all the boxes, that's why we're so supportive of it.
It’s a real privilege to be involved
We’re getting loads of appetite form colleagues who’ve been involved. The mentors have got so much out of it, it’s a phenomenal programme.
Overall, given how fast everyone has hit the ground on this, it's been absolutely amazing, it really really has! What’s on offer here is absolutely incredible e.g. insight into how data’s used, I wish it was around when I was starting out!
It's a wonderful thing to do. The energy from us has been amazing, such clarity of purpose, so much energy
Our commitment to diversity & inclusion
This programme is aimed at ambitious and high-potential young people, aged 18-24, who are currently underrepresented in the workforce.
To ensure we meet our commitments to equality, we partner with recruitment specialists in diversity & inclusion to make sure that this programme is accessible to everyone. Our assessment processes have non-bias psychometric testing which favours cognitive ability over numerical or verbal aptitude.
To ensure we reach the candidates that will benefit from FastFutures the most, we also work with outreach partners and networks to access key underrepresented groups.