Business Charity Awards - Charity Partnership, Telecoms & Technology: BT Group with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation & 5 Star Active

For an outstanding partnership between a company in the telecommunications and technology sectors and a UK charity

Rio Ferdinand Foundation
Rio Ferdinand Foundation

What is the partnership?

BT and the Rio Ferdinand Foundation came together to support young people into education and employment through the BT Work Ready programme. RFF youth workers go into the hearts of communities and build relationships with the most at-risk young people, engaging them through sport. Once a relationship has been built, the young people progress through personal and social development projects aimed at building confidence and skills, and are offered accredited training and volunteering opportunities. As young people become more confident, they can access the BT Work Ready programme.

What did the company do?

The Work Ready programme starts with the BT Skills for Work Boot Camp, a full day of training hosted in a BT building and supported by BT volunteers. Young people who are interested move on to a seven-week traineeship at various BT departments, leading to qualifications including BTECs in employment skills, maths, English and business administration. From there, young people can either progress to an apprenticeship with BT or take part in a further 12-week job-finding support programme with the company, including access to employers from different industries.

Why did it win?

Many of the young people taking part come from families of generational worklessness, and the project has demystified the world of work for them, providing them with positive pathways to achievement. Two hundred and forty took part in employment initiatives and work placements with BT, and 200 progressed into further education, apprenticeships and employment.

What did the judges say?

"BT has clearly benefited from this programme and increased its talent pool as a result," said Katie Buchanan, head of sustainability at Virgin Media.

Highly commended

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