An innovative partnership between leading social mobility charity, Villiers Park Educational Trust, and purpose-led digital transformation expert, Sopra Steria, is helping more than 400 under-represented young people break through barriers and fulfil their potential.
The two organisations have joined forces via the charity’s flagship Future Leaders Programme, which supports young people from areas with low participation in higher education, and typically high levels of deprivation, to develop the skills they need to thrive at university and in employment.
As part of the partnership, Sopra Steria is supporting young people from Hastings & Bexhill, Norwich, Swindon and Tyneside through office visits, digital skills workshops and employability masterclasses.
The organisations have also worked together to develop the Sopra Steria Opportunities Fund, which has so far enabled over 200 students to apply for funding towards services or materials that directly benefit their aspirations. The fund enables students to follow their ambitions and has supported a variety of requests, including tutoring, revision materials, academic subscriptions, university open day trips and many more.
One of the those being supported through the partnership is 17-year-old Clara from Hastings, a talented performance artist, singer and songwriter who is keen to pursue her academic interests in Philosophy and English.
Clara has valued the experience as a Future Leader, which has supported her ambition of studying at the University of Cambridge. Clara explained:
“If I ever see an opportunity I’d like to go for, I can always talk to my mentor and get their advice. The Future Leaders programme bridges the gap between coaching and attainment and helps us be at the same opportunity level as students from more affluent backgrounds.
“Being part of the programme has opened up so many doors and opportunities that I wouldn’t have been able to find on my own. For example, the upcoming work experience at the House of Commons in July, and it’s so special they can provide this for us.”
“It’s been a real highlight to visit Sopra Steria’s London office to reflect on how a modern workplace can look. It debunked the myth of the office environment feeling confined and highlighted how you can be at your best in the workplace.”
Image credit: Sopra Steria