We have a remarkable story to tell

 
 

Back in 2003, Dan Snell - our Founder and CEO - was working in the City of London, when his flatmate's younger brother was tragically murdered in a street crime.

This event prompted Dan to volunteer in a local state secondary school in North-West London, which had a challenging and economically deprived catchment area.

What quickly became apparent was how many switched-on, ambitious young students attended the school. However, it was also obvious that these young people, although smart, driven, and talented, had little-to-no chance of getting the kind of jobs that more affluent kids would take for granted.

This was not due to a lack of ability. Rather, the young people did not have access to the kind of insight, knowledge, and opportunities that successful families pass down to their children.

In 2006, driven by a desire to address this inequality, Dan left the security of a corporate job to work full-time in the school for a year, and with the support of the likes of the Young Foundation, set up Arrival Education Ltd.

Although social mobility was a hot political topic,  the Arrival team decided the government’s emphasis on academic attainment and university as a guaranteed route to success, was wrong.

 
Their programmes are truly transformative and enable students and company employees alike to see new possibilities for themselves, what it takes to realise them and build the self-belief that they can be realised.
— Rick Bacon, Aqua Metrology Systems
 

Our hunch proved correct after conversations with leading businesses, across a range of sectors. The universal feedback from CEOs and HR Directors was that university degrees were a poor indicator of professional success. Instead, business leaders spoke about mindsets and personal qualities such as tenacity, perseverance, integrity, self-awareness, and resilience. 

Developing these qualities and attributes in the young people, as well as passing on knowledge and insight about the world of work, was where we placed our focus.

Our vision was to equip those brilliant young people with the tools and mind-sets necessary to flourish in life, which we called, ‘Success Ready’. We believed that with the right input, these young people could become the business leaders of the future.

Partnering with forward-thinking businesses, third sector organisations and head teachers, in 2008, we launched the UK’s first and only four-year development programme to assure social mobility, called ‘Success for Life’.

You can read more about the Success for Life programme and its impact in our Ten Year Report.

 
 
 

Over 3500 young people, 65 schools, 23 London boroughs

Ten years on we are seeing the real impact of our work, as the young people we started working with aged 14, are now entering the working world, securing top jobs and salaries that for most, are beyond anything anyone in their family would have dreamed possible.

 
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Over 500 business leaders, 35 businesses

 

Crucial to the programme’s success was the involvement of great businesses. Initially, businesses worked with us because of a commitment to being positive contributors to their local communities.

However, what soon transpired was that the partnership was just as valuable to the business, as it was to the young people. Positive impacts were felt in key areas such as culture, employee engagement, learning and development and leadership. Staff gained confidence, developed and improved coaching and people development skills, all whilst engaging in a deeply rewarding and moving personal experience.

All of this was great, but our real ambition, and what we believed would be the truest measure of success would be in the jobs our students secured. Would they be able to ‘win’ coveted and highly aspirational graduate roles?

When we began the odds looked poor. Admittedly the 14-year olds we started with were a long way off being able to join top firms, both in terms of age and in behaviour.

 

Whilst it is great that we are working with your students, I just can’t see our firm ever hiring them

We realised that for our young people to get the top jobs they dreamt of we needed to change attitudes to talent in our businesses. Whilst everyone we spoke to said that they knew university and academics weren’t the best filters, and that they saw brilliance in the young people, they were still stuck in an old model of recruiting – playing it safe with certain universities and CV profiles.

Whilst, not an over-night change, through working with us, clients reported shifts in senior leaders’ attitudes and beliefs around talent, which enabled HR teams to trial different approaches, including hiring students from our programmes, many of whom had been developed by their staff. We are delighted to see our graduates flourishing in top companies they would never have had access to, let alone success in applying to.

Looking Ahead

In the last few years, the world has changed. Forward-thinking businesses now realise that to survive they need to become places where diversity of thought can flourish. To make this possible, they need to become places where people from different backgrounds feel welcomed, wanted and included. We call this ‘Difference Ready’.  Whilst we remain committed to helping our young people become ‘Success Ready’, we now also focus as much on helping our business clients become ‘Difference Ready’.  We do this in partnership with our young people, through our Developing Leaders Coaching Skills programmes, key notes, employer brand work and CSR initiatives.

Read more about what we do for businesses, or send us a message to learn more.

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