ThinkForward’s breakthrough programme coaches the most disengaged young people from age 13 to 18 to succeed in education and progress into sustained employment.
Coaches build trusted relationships, helping young people to take control of their own lives and set goals for their futures, while overcoming challenges at home, in the community and at school. Complementing the one-to-one Coaching, young people are also linked to targeted Ready for Work activities to build their life skills and aspirations in order to gain and sustain employment.
We consciously focus on working with the most disadvantaged, as we know there are existing interventions for those who require less intensive support. Through a scoring mechanism and the knowledge of school staff, we identify 13 year olds with known risk factors, including poor behaviour, attainment and attendance and whether young people are in care, on free school meals or have special educational needs.
Why we exist: ThinkForward’s unique coaching approach was launched in 2011, following research identifying a gap in long-term preventative provision to equip young people with complex needs with the skills to successfully transition from school to work. Working in communities with some of the highest intergenerational unemployment rates in the country, ThinkForward was created to break this cycle and prevent the next generation of youth unemployment.
Getting young people ready for work: Our approach to supporting young people is distinctive and is underpinned by four key principles: early long-term intervention, one-to-one relationship with an experienced trusted Coach, strong partnerships where we connect rather than duplicate and finally we link young people directly with employers.
Alongside the Coaching support, ThinkForward offers young people unique experiences of the world of work through activities such as business mentoring, work experience placements, insight days, CV writing workshops and interview practice. These are all targeted towards developing seven Ready for Work capabilities, such as self-assurance, self-awareness, good organisation and drive.
“ThinkForward guides and supports young people at risk of dropping out as they navigate the often challenging journey through school and into their first job. One key to the programme’s success is building bridges between the often separate worlds of education and the workplace. Once the programme’s impact is proven, we believe it has the potential to improve the prospects of disadvantaged school leavers nationwide.”
–Charlie Green, Chair, ThinkForward
“Your impressive results show how helping young people early on can change the course of their lives from being out of work or training to being on track for a great career. ThinkForward is showing just what can be done and I congratulate you on the work you have achieved so far.”
—Nick Clegg, Former Deputy Prime Minister