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New £2m project to turbo-charge careers education for disadvantaged young people in England

01 Nov 2021

JPMorgan Chase and The Careers & Enterprise Company launch a project to support disadvantaged young people to prepare for the world of work. The announcement was covered in financial and business press, with regional media outlets like The Yorkshire Post, Northern Echo and Dorset Live covering the specific projects being set up across the country.

Today sees the launch of a £2 million programme to help connect disadvantaged young people in England with the education and skills they need to prepare them for their future careers.

The project, with philanthropic support by JPMorgan Chase and rolled out by the national body for careers education, The Careers & Enterprise Company, will work with secondary school pupils facing significant barriers to help them prepare for the world of work. This will include young people from low-income families, on free school meals, those living in areas of high deprivation, and those who have been excluded from school.

Following a competitive application process across England’s network of regional Career Hubs, ten projects have been selected spanning London, the North East, parts of the North West, Yorkshire, the West of England and areas on the south coast. Each is being developed with teachers, school leaders and businesses, with a focus on the changing nature of jobs resulting from trends like artificial intelligence and automation. The two-year projects will provide insights into the interventions and policy solutions most effective in helping disadvantaged young people transition from school into work, training and further education.

Examples of the new programmes being established around England are:

  • In London, a peer network is being created to support young black students excluded from school.
  • Young people from some of the most deprived areas of Lancashire will participate in extended work placements alongside their studies to build skills and aspirations beyond the school gates.
  • In Leeds, young girls on free school meals will be partnered with businesses in growth sectors in the local economy, and go through coaching, work experience and a programme to develop their work-readiness skills.

Projects will also work with young people with special educational needs and disabilities, and a project in Dorset will test rewarding students for taking part in work experience alongside intensive one on one support to open their eyes to all the options and pathways open to them in their local area.

JPMorgan Chase announced the UK as one of 10 global sites to receive career readiness investments as part of the firm’s $75 million global commitment to better prepare young people for the jobs of today and tomorrow. These multi-year philanthropic investments are part of the firm’s global career readiness initiative to prepare young people for the future of work and drive an inclusive economic recovery. England is the second site outside of the U.S. to participate in the programme following a commitment made to Spain in September 2021.

Viswas Raghavan, CEO of EMEA at JPMorgan Chase, said: “Building a skilled workforce and ensuring that all students have access to the support and real world experiences they need is critical to building an inclusive economy that works for all. Too many young people, particularly those from underrepresented communities, are entering the workforce without the skills and resources they need. Collaboration between the public and private sector is key, and that’s why we’re pleased to support the Careers and Enterprise Company to help more young people get on the pathway to a promising career.”

Stephanie Mestrallet, Head of UK Philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase, said: “Quality and timely careers information, advice and guidance is critical to helping young people fulfil their potential and succeed in future careers. With the rapid proliferation of technology, the world of work is transforming at an incredibly high pace, and young people from low-income backgrounds need extra support to clear pathways to good jobs. We are delighted to be supporting The Careers & Enterprise Company to provide intensive support to over a thousand young people over the next two years and to build the evidence for what works in supporting effective transitions to the future job market.”

Oli de Botton, Chief Executive at The Careers & Enterprise Company, added: “Helping young people find their best next step out of school into work, training or further study is important at the best of times. As we help this generation bounce back from the pandemic this work will become critical. As a Headteacher I’ve seen first-hand just how transformative high quality, high impact careers education can be for the most disadvantaged young people – particularly at key transition points.

“These projects will deliver cutting edge approaches to careers education for those young people who battle the odds.  Built by communities, for communities, our goal is to support approaches that remove barriers and help young people transition securely onto brilliant pathways.”

Baroness Morgan of Cotes, the former Secretary of State for Education who is on the board of The Careers & Enterprise Company, said: “As society rebuilds from the pandemic, providing support to those young people who face some of the highest, hardest obstacles as they grow up couldn’t be more important.

“These new projects, backed by JPMorgan Chase and The Careers & Enterprise Company, will help to transform the lives of some of this country’s most disadvantaged young people. Helping these students make the move from education into the world of work, with programmes that draw on the latest research, will help them to enter secure jobs for the long term. But as important, it will also help policy makers understand how outstanding careers education can contribute towards tackling unemployment in this country.”

New research shines spotlight on widening skills gap

According to a recent global survey, one in six younger adults stopped working since the outbreak of COVID, with young workers aged 18 to 24 more likely to lose their jobs. The same survey found that one in eight young students were left without any access to education or training.

Even before the pandemic, rapid changes in technology, automation, and artificial intelligence continued to shape the economy and exacerbate the disconnect between skills and jobs, setting young people further behind.

The programmes launching across England have been informed by a new report the Careers & Enterprise Company and the Behavioural Insights Team.

The report brings together the latest evidence and data and makes recommendations on what works most effectively to improve careers education for students facing the greatest barriers growing up.

The report finds that:

  • ‘Career confusion’ can be experienced by many disadvantaged young people, with a wide range of complex post-16 (years old) options to choose from.
  • Programmes that young people engage with repeatedly over time, rather than through a one-off interaction, are more effective.
  • Supporting parents and carers, who have a bigger influence on a young person’s decisions about their careers, is important.
  • Creating social capital for young people, particularly by creating peer networks, employer engagement and mentoring can help break down the barriers disadvantaged young people face.



JPMorgan Chase’s History of Investing in Youth Jobs and Skills Training

Five years ago, JPMorgan Chase committed $75 million in career readiness initiatives as part of the firm’s $350 million commitment to prepare people for the future of work – to support states and regions to increase the number of young people completing high-quality career pathways that start in high school and culminate in credentials that have value in the labor market by transforming the design and delivery of career-focused education. These communities developed and scaled innovative educational programs that helped tens of thousands of students in eight countries, 10 states, and more than 20 cities gain the education, skills, and credentials they need to compete for well-paying jobs.

As part of this $75 million investment, JPMorgan Chase is also leveraging the skills and expertise of our employees to provide young people with mentoring and real-world work experiences, building on a 10 year history of engaging more than 2,000 employees every year to prepare young adults for college and career success. Last year, the firm launched career readiness mentorship programs in Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas and Indianapolis. Through these programs, participating youth will gain access to career awareness, higher-order skills, and professional networks.

Existing programs such as The Fellowship Initiative – which recently expanded in 2020, Advancing Young Professionals, and the Schools Challenge continue to engage JPMorgan Chase employees as student mentors. Additionally, apprenticeship programs in London and Bournemouth offer students in their last year of high school or in college a comprehensive introduction to the world of financial services and the chance to earn industry-recognized qualifications.


About JPMorgan Chase & Co.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.7 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of customers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at

About The Careers & Enterprise Company

  • Set up by government in 2015, The Careers & Enterprise Company is the national body for careers education in England.
  • It supports schools and colleges to deliver modern, 21st century careers education that helps every young person to find their best next step out of education and into the wider world.

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