Sophie has led City Year UK as its Chief Executive since November 2009, when the organisation was first set up in London and has overseen its development in the UK and expansion to the West Midlands and Greater Manchester.
While she was Deputy Chief Executive of the Private Equity Foundation, Sophie was introduced to City Year and got involved in efforts to bring the organisation to the UK, including raising initial funding and building a range of stakeholder support for the City Year model.
Previously, Sophie has worked in a range of roles within the charity, business and public sectors, including chairing a school governing body and working for an MP. She has a BA Hons in History from the University of Bristol.
In December 2016, Sophie received the Mayor’s Fund for London Individual Award for ‘outstanding achievement and lasting impact in tackling the skills and employment agenda for young Londoners from disadvantaged backgrounds’. She was named on the Top 30 Social CEO’s list for 2016 and in January 2017 was included in the ‘Philanthropists and Activists’ section of the Debrett’s 500 list which recognises and celebrates Britain’s 500 most influential people.
As well as leading City Year UK, Sophie is a founder, trustee and Co-Chair of Generation Change, the independent voice of youth social action in Britain which brings together 18 youth social action organisations. Sophie also serves as a trustee of The Royal Voluntary Service.
My plea to everyone who sees the value in a 'national service option' for UK is to stop wishing for some vague concept of former glory and get involved in shaping the recommendations of this review by responding to its call for evidence and pushing the Government to act following the release of its recommendations.
#PledgeforParity is one way to help accelerate progress. The other is to continue to talk honestly about the realities of working and family life, with both women and men. It's only by working together that we will create a balanced, inclusive society that recognises everyone's contributions properly.
Young people hear so much about the need to do well in their exams but virtually nothing on the need to invest in themselves as people, and yet that's what will set them up for success in the workplace--and in life. Young people face so many challenges during their transition to adulthood and employment. Giving them the tools to do that successfully is surely the responsibility of our society. Ofsted's report should be a wake-up call to make that a reality.
As you yourself have found, service offers a common meeting ground. It can be a great equalizer that's not interested in social divisions and it has the potential to make everyone who's willing to take part great. But not everyone has an interest in becoming a soldier or the military.
Consensus is the last word you'd normally associate with General Elections but following on from "I agree with Nick" - the unlikely catchphrase of spring 2010 - five years later it looks like the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats have found something else to agree on. Each of these parties has included a commitment to youth social action and volunteering in its manifesto.
While we are enormously grateful to the baby boomers for digging deep into their pockets for so many years, I believe there is a new generation waiting in the wings who, if their current 'giving' is anything to go by, will be just as, if not more generous in ways that only they will determine.
On a day to day basis, how many people do you meet who are different to you - not just ethnically, but from a different age group or socio-economic background? If recent research is right, the likely answer is not many.
Last week, it was great to see one Cabinet Minister getting out of the 'conference zone'. Justine Greening might be Secretary of State for International Development but while in Birmingham, she took the opportunity to find out what's going on closer to home with a visit to a school in one of the most deprived parts of the city.
It was demoralising to see The Times' report that "almost a quarter of graduate employers have complained of being unable to fill vacancies despite record numbers of school leavers going to university." Once again, a 'mismatch' between what graduates can offer and the knowledge and skills asked for by employers has been blamed.
So Mr Gove, I hope I have been able to show you that 'school service', as a positive force rather than the punitive one you alluded to, has the potential to help pupils so much more than picking up litter.
Government, the private, public and voluntary sectors are taking some big strides towards making social action a normal part of growing up in Britain. We have the opportunity to broaden that ambition to also make youth unemployment unheard of.
'Learn or earn' was one of the headlines of the Prime Minister's speech to the Conservative Party conference this week: a message to the under 25s that, under a future Conservative government, they should not expect benefits...
Our society sends out confusing messages about when young people become adults, what level of responsibility they should have for themselves and what role they can play. You can smoke, join the army, leave school (this school year anyway) and have sex at 16, drive at 17 but you have to wait until 18 to drink alcohol in a pub and vote. Then you hit 21 and that still retains some significance.
There needs to be more recognition of the transferable skills developed by this type of activity: teamwork, communication, empathy; in essence, all the things that businesses say that they are crying out for from young applicants.
21/06/2013 11:41 BST
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