Harrison Centre renews social mobility partnership
Hundreds more young people on Wearside will have the opportunity to learn crucial education and employability skills, after the Harrison Centre for Social Mobility renewed its partnership with the Foundation of Light. The Harrison Centre works with hundreds of young people at the charity’s home – the Beacon of Light - to provide the tuition and training they need to help them grow in confidence, gain qualifications, become more work ready and ultimately secure a job. Alongside the continued financial commitment, the Harrison Centre and its partner business, True Potential, have also donated a number of state-of-the-art laptops to the charity to support young people from low-income families access online learning from their home, during the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. The continued partnership means the Harrison Centre has invested over £200,000 in Foundation of Light employability programmes since it opened its learning centre at the Beacon in 2018. Over the last two years 1,069 young people aged 13 and over took part in courses providing essential skills in ICT/Digital, Managing Finances, Maths and English, Personal and Social Development and Business & Enterprise. This year alone, nearly 600 sessions were delivered face to face, alongside 85 hours of delivery during lockdown and over 180 qualifications achieved with a pass rate of 94.5% across all courses. 10 learners have also completed apprenticeships with 100% achieving qualifications and 97% progressed into work. Learners have also gone on to achieve further qualifications after their apprenticeships, including one learner progressing to university following completion of the Level 3 Business Administration programme. Learners also achieved Level 4 qualifications in teaching and Level 2 in Information, Advice and Guidance. The Harrison Centre for Social Mobility was founded by entrepreneur David Harrison in 2017 with a belief that no one should be held back by background or upbringing. The Centre works with organisations that support disadvantaged people into employment. In total, almost £1 million has been donated to social mobility causes across the UK by the Harrison Centre since it was founded. David Harrison said: “We are delighted to continue our work with the Foundation of Light. They are a fantastic organisation, and seeing what they’ve done during lockdown confirmed what I already knew; brilliant people doing brilliant things. “The charity’s ability to adapt under such difficult circumstances this year, when it would've been easier to close, is unbelievable and it is clear that the Foundation staff have really put people first. “I’m really impressed by what the young people have achieved and their progression into further education, training and employment, especially given that learning had to move from face-to-face delivery, to online study as a result of lockdown. “What the students have achieved this year is testament to the outstanding staff and learners at the Foundation. They should be very proud of what they have achieved.” Jamie Wright, Managing Director of the Foundation of Light added: “With the ongoing support of the Harrison Centre for Social Mobility, the Foundation of Light will once again be able to continue the development of these bespoke employability programmes. Much can be achieved together with a long-term view to create a sustainable portfolio of programmes to support our young people to do more and be more. “This year we have faced the challenge of moving our programmes online and making sure we continue to provide high quality learning and opportunities to our young people. The kind donation of laptops by David Harrison and his team will ensure that we can give people the chance to learn, no matter their circumstances or background.” After setting up the Harrison Centre for Social Mobility, David Harrison co-founded the national Social Mobility Pledge, alongside former Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Justine Greening. The Pledge asks businesses to commit to working with local schools, offering apprenticeships and adopting fair recruitment policies, such as name-blind or contextual recruitment. Since it was launched, 550 businesses and universities across the UK employing seven million people have signed the Social Mobility Pledge. One of the first companies to sign the Pledge was David Harrison’s financial technology business, True Potential, based in Newcastle.