David Pinchin, Chairman of Leadership Through Sport & Business, first conceived the idea of creating a charity to help smart young people from underprivileged communities in 2009 when he retired from his successful inter-dealer broking business Tradition Financial Services (TFS). He co-founded TFS and was CEO/Co-CEO for 25 years and COO of Tradition Group from 2007 – 2009.
Of the many obvious things concerning young people, two stand out:
Opportunities for distraction abound including extremism in all its forms and the kind of call to riot for bored, frustrated and disaffected youth that occurred in the UK in 2010.
David, with help from his contacts across the world, created and developed Leadership Through Sport & Business to go some way to addressing these issues by providing a programme that helps young men and women fulfil their real potential. The first cohort of school leavers joined Leadership Through Sport & Business "More than an Apprenticeship" programme in 2012.
Leadership Through Sport & Business is designed to provide better opportunities based upon a combination of sport, education, business and community work. The objective is to focus attention on communities where leadership potential is often wasted and to produce leaders and future ambassadors from the young adults selected in each location that we work.
Using the terrific brand names and outstanding local community programmes of premiership football clubs the selected young adults obtain sports coaching and leadership qualifications. At the same time through local colleges or training providers the young people gain academic qualifications that enable them to make a valuable contribution to employers, and specifically gives them access to a profession in accounting or business. The first four months of the programme prepare our young people for the corporate environment. Together with corporate partners we deliver induction, goal setting, networking, communications and presentations training, office etiquette and business ethics, CV workshops and mock interviews. Throughout the 16 month programme we arrange business and negotiation games, a debating challenge and a mock trial at a crown court. We also arrange inspirational guest speakers, many from humble backgrounds, who have succeeded in their fields of endeavor.
Employers require young talented individuals from diverse backgrounds to become part of their organisations. Businesses need bright diverse young people to be competitive and relevant and serve their customers. This was demonstrated by the fact that most of the apprentices in our first two intakes were employed by the organisations that provided the apprenticeship opportunities. Employers may have hired our apprentices for CSR reasons but they employed them full time because it made business sense and they contribute to the bottom line.
Many employers tell us that apprentices offer new ideas and fresh enthusiasm to their organisations. School leavers are capable of making a valuable contribution to an employer but they are held back by a lack of social capital and life skills. Schools do not adequately prepare them for the world of work, which is why we put so much importance on the pre-work phase of our programme. Most young people we enage with have an excellent understanding of technology and social media, fresh ideas, hunger, resilience, enthusiasm and energy. They have already applied themselves to achieve academic results, often against the odds. Businesses need to encourage and embrace them. Leadership Through Sport & Business facilitates this process.
Young people growing up in underprivileged areas need help to break the pattern of low self-esteem, lack of opportunity and often generations of unemployment. They need to be given a real chance and a helping hand to ignite their spark and develop them into well rounded members of their community and dedicated, hard working employees who can ultimately become leaders, movers and shakers. All of our young people lack social capital.
We work actively with schools, community and religious leaders, youth clubs, charities and other organisations to ensure that we have access to the young people who really need our programme.
Apprentice schemes are at the heart of government policies to boost skills and reduce youth unemployment. School leavers need alternative routes into careers. AAT is an ideal route into an accounting or business role. Our young people study Level 2 during the pre-employment phase and Level 3 during their 12 month apprenticeship.
Most of our alumni have progressed to study Level 4 and several of our 2012-13 Intake have begun their professional studies to become qualified through ACCA, ICAEW or CEMA.
Society needs young people to engage with their communities, become socially responsible, be gainfully employed and contribute to our fast changing business world.