History of the Envision Programme

In 2000, Envision began in a garden shed, where four young friends wanted to challenge the negative view of young people in the media by getting young people involved in the local community. From here they had an auction of promises which raised £10,000. They convinced five teams of young people to get involved and supported them in setting up social action projects. This programme spread across London, and it was set up in Birmingham in 2005. One of the founding members of this programme is still a trustee of Envision.

History of the Community Apprentice Programme

In 2013, Envision consolidated a wide range of programmes into a pilot: the Community-Apprentice programme. This programme was set up as an inter-school competition which harnessed employee mentors to develop key employability skills in young people. The results of a rigorous randomised control trial conclusively proved its impact on the development of young people. In 2015, the Community-Apprentice programme was piloted in London and has now scaled its impact to a much larger number of schools with resources focused on those young people who need it most.

The Community Apprentice Programme

The programme tackles social mobility by providing opportunities for those students who are disadvantaged and develops key skills necessary for the world of work. Community-Apprentice develops soft skills and confidence, and in turn develops a new generation of change-makers willing and able to make positive change in their local community. It engages students in social issues which are important to them, whilst also raising awareness and funding for local charities. The original programme is directed towards Key Stage 5 students, but due to demand from teachers, a new Key Stage 4 programme was introduced in Lewisham in 2017. The Key Stage 4 programme targets Year 10 students, as research has suggested that employer intervention at this age has the biggest impact on the opportunities that a student has for their future career path. The project acts as a grass-roots movement, harnessing local charities, businesses and schools, all brought together by Envision.

Each school team picks a charity to support at the beginning of the programme. Teams raise money for local charities such as FoodCycle Lewisham, Action for Refugees in Lewisham (AFRIL) and Carers Lewisham. The teams are also paired with corporate businesses who act as business mentors. The business mentors develop the young people’s key soft skills, enhance their public speaking, support teams to set personal and team goals and enable a fundraising event held at their corporate offices.

Community-Apprentice currently runs in 10 schools in Lewisham, Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham College, Haberdashers’ Aske’s Knights Academy, Haberdashers’ Aske’s Crayford Academy, Addey & Stanhope School, Deptford Green School, Conisborough College, Trinity School, Sydenham School, Forest Hill School and Prendergast Ladywell School. Teams of students compete against each other to raise the most awareness and funds for their chosen charity. The final challenge, The Pitching Challenge, sees teams come together to pitch against each other in front of a panel of judges to win Community-Apprentice. This is a big celebration event where business mentors and charities that have been supporting the teams come together, and teams each present what they have achieved.

Last year the team supporting FoodCycle Lewisham convinced their school to have a non-uniform day where all students brought in food donations instead of money, which all went straight to the charity.

All the Envision staff on the Community-Apprentice programme have specialistic training in youthwork. Parents, teachers and headteachers often thank the organisation for the experience the students get from the programme. One headteacher has argued that,

“the Envision project has enabled our pupils to develop their confidence, communication and team working skills. Some of our pupils have shown themselves as great leaders and a project like this will only help them strive to be outstanding role models in our school community. Being courageous advocates and insisting on social justice are key qualities we want to instil in our pupils and this project has supported this aim”

Get in contact

If any local charities or schools wish to get in contact with Envision, please contact Ciara Kavanagh, Regional Programmes Manager, on 020 7096 1714.

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