11/07/2016 08:20 BST | Updated 09/07/2017 06:12 BST

'Soft Skills' Empower Young People to Make the Right Life Choices

Progressive London based youth educational charity Futureversity bridges the skills gap with the provision of innovative 'Soft Skills' training for young people in London over the summer. Its business and career focused summer training schemes recognize the importance of soft skills that are worth over £88 billion in Gross Value Added to the UK economy each year, in fact underpinning around 6.5% of the economy as a whole.

London (08 July 2016) - Futureversity is encouraging young people to fulfil their true potential with the launch of a new scheme from 25th July to the 19th August in the London Borough of Greenwich and across Greater London. These courses can equip young people from 10-19 years (or up to 25 years for those with disabilities with desperately needed 'Soft Skills' to allow them to flourish in life. The forward thinking scheme allows young people to realise their dreams and ambitions with a little inspiration and guidance. It's never been more important for millennials to acquire life skills in order to get a foothold on the career ladder and differentiate themselves from the competition. Chief Executive Michele McKendry commented "All young people have the potential to be extraordinary if only they're offered the means and tools to reach that potential. School timetables are very busy and so we believe that making better use of the 25% of the time that young people spend outside of school is the best solution".

Futureversity harnesses its own experience alongside the use of compelling external research to extoll the benefits of focused non-formal learning interventions during school holiday periods in general, but specifically for young people who are predisposed to becoming NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training). The shifting sand dunes of the economic landscape combined with learning from the multiplicity of providers has demonstrated the importance of working more collaboratively with businesses. Businesses who've partnered with Futureversity to provide training include Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Kitchen and Goldman Sachs. A range of innovative courses are being provided from Building an App, Smart Phone Photography, Cooking, to learning to be a DJ and Parkour.

By tackling this 'blind spot in education', their programme of non-formal learning is designed to boost young people's character and social skills, focusing on their self-awareness, receptiveness, drive, self-assuredness, and understanding of the jobs market. Summer should be a time for fun and new experiences - not for 'school' and so Futureversity's skills focused tailor-made summer schemes, work with businesses to maximize this 'golden time' for young people, keeping them busy and off the streets as well as supporting their wellbeing. These opportunities are offered free, thus enabling applicants to fulfil their true potential.

Councillor Miranda Williams, Cabinet Member for Children & Young People, the Royal London Borough of Greenwich said: "The summer holidays can become quite boring after a while unless you have something fun to do. Futureversity's programme of activities where young people can learn a new skill, develop a hobby or be inspired to think about a different career - is creative, fun and, we hope, empowering. There's so much to do - why not take a look and see what's on offer. You never know, you might just be inspired to become a wildlife photographer or the next Jamie Oliver or Tinie Tempah!"

Through these partnerships with businesses and organisations, the gap is bridged between education and employment with career tasters, employability training, volunteering, work experience opportunities, and creative, sports and life skills development. They focus on inspiring young people, opening them up to real experience of different careers and passions that might otherwise be beyond their reach.

Futureversity, a small educational youth charity, based in the heart of the City of London has worked over the last 20 years with over 160,000 young people aged 9 to 25 (with 82% from ethnic minority

backgrounds and over 60% in receipt of free school meals). All their courses and activities are free of charge.

Any young person can enrol on a Futureversity course if they're based in London and those that do experience a safe, informal environment where they are encouraged to learn new skills, think about their future, and expand their circle of friends across racial, cultural and socio-economic boundaries.

Confidence and optimism

As well as keeping young people actively engaged in positive activities to help reduce anti-social behaviour, the programmes provide valuable impartial careers guidance, access to business people, and help motivate them to engage better in school or college. In fact, they found from one of their surveys 83% felt more confident about communicating with new people, 66% felt they were now more in control of their future, 86% felt more motivated to take up new learning and 79% were motivated to choose positive activities rather than anti-social ones.

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