WorkingRite is a charity that successfully tackles youth unemployment by turning non-academic 16-18 year olds into confident and employable young adults. We individually match young people to small businesses in their local community and pair them with an adult mentor in the workplace. Their placement lasts up to six months and the youngsters are taught a trade, on the job, where it counts. Away from their peers and under the supervision and guidance of their mentor, WorkingRite trainees grow in confidence, gain valuable skills and learn the responsibilities of working life.
I first had the pleasure of meeting HRH The Duke of York at his Backing Youth event at Buckingham Palace in the summer 2013. I was accompanied by two of our trainees, Jack Readman and Lauren Shand, who thoroughly enjoyed meeting other charities and their beneficiaries. It was a great experience for them, and for me.
I was impressed by the HRH’s genuine interest in young people’s options – or lack thereof – and his open and approachable manner. So, I invited him to visit one of our projects to see how WorkingRite makes a difference to over 400 young people across England and Scotland. To my delight, he agreed to visit our office in Hastings and we welcomed him there in February 2014.
During his visit, The Duke of York led a robust and engaging discussion with our placement employers, trainees and key stakeholders from East Sussex. He asked many pertinent questions and made a real effort to get under the skin of WorkingRite and the obstacles we face. He was particularly astounded to hear about our difficulty expanding our service in England due to the lagged funding we receive. To set up a project, we must commit 18 months of resources ourselves before being paid by the Education Funding Agency for our performance in this time. It is therefore impossible for us to enter new areas without the backing of a significant philanthropic donation, or through sub-contracts with local colleges (as is the case in Hastings).
We hope to raise awareness of this issue and encourage colleges and councils with the necessary funds to help introduce WorkingRite to their county. We have an incredible success rate, with over 80% of trainees who complete our programme moving into jobs or apprenticeships. It’s a method that works, offering non-academic youngsters a viable route into a rewarding career.
For more information on WorkingRite, visit the website www.workingrite.co.uk
Sandy Campbell, Founder, WorkingRite