EY launches a UK charity to create employment opportunities for young people and support entrepreneurs

3 July 2014

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Charity builds on EY’s investments in young people and entrepreneurs

EY, the professional services firm, has launched a UK charity – the EY Foundation – to help young people find alternative routes into employment and education and support social entrepreneurs and start-ups. The charity builds on the success of EY’s existing programmes for young people and entrepreneurs in the UK.

The announcement, made to a packed crowd at the British Museum last night, comes just weeks after Office for National Statistics (ONS) data showed younger workers (18-24) have shouldered the biggest burden of higher unemployment in the UK. 

A bigger impact on the lives of people in the UK

Steve Varley, EY’s UK chairman and managing partner UK & Ireland, says that EY has worked with clients to develop a real understanding of the challenges young people face when trying to enter the labour market and of the importance of fostering entrepreneurial talent.

“The EY Foundation will be able to build on this legacy, to make a real difference to the lives of young people in the UK. It will take an active role in facilitating business and public conversations about the big issues that affect entrepreneurs, especially those focused on profit for good, and the big issues that affect young people today; providing them with a voice and encouraging greater support from business and the community.”

Just one of the manifestations of EY’s purpose – building a better working world – Steve believes that the EY Foundation has a unique ability to harness EY’s talented people, collaborate with the wider business community and work with other charities and the public sector, to affect social change focused on education, employment and enterprise. “I’m very proud we are launching the EY Foundation and am truly excited about the potential,” he says.

Pathways to education, employment and enterprise

EY Foundation’s mission is to create and support pathways for young people and entrepreneurs into education, employment and enterprise. Its vision is to maximise the potential of its existing programmes, like Smart Futures and Accelerate Network, and to create new ones through raising funds and collaborating with organisations that share its mission: making support and investment available to more people. 

A 10-strong independent board of trustees

The 10-strong EY Foundation board of trustees, chaired by Patrick Dunne (also chair of Leap Confronting Conflict and D3O) will operate independently of EY in carrying out its work and achieving its objectives. The chief executive of the charity is Maryanne Matthews.

Speaking at the event last night, Patrick Dunne, chairman of EY Foundation, told attendees, “I have been working in the charity sector for many years and I truly believe that the EY Foundation is an innovative model through which we can deliver social change and make a difference to the lives of thousands of people. This charity has the potential to be a pioneering force in supporting young people and entrepreneurs to help create the type of sustainable economic growth necessary for business to thrive and society to prosper.”

Addressing some of the complex issues behind limited social mobility in the UK

Martin Cook, managing partner commercial at EY, and partner sponsor of the charity, also addressed attendees at last night’s event. He said, “The EY Foundation has a strong convening power and a responsibility to tackle hard problems: working with other organisations in supporting young people. I believe it has the potential to address some of the complex issues which limit social mobility in the UK today.”

But the last word of the evening went to Rosie Kona an alumnus of the Smart Futures programme, which provides bright young people in the UK from lower socio-economic backgrounds with an opportunity to unlock their career potential.

“I am so pleased that even more young people will now have the opportunity to experience business, learn skills and develop a sense of independence and responsibility as I did on the Smart Futures programme," she said.