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ThinkForward hosts DWP Permanent Secretary

ThinkForward has hosted a visit by Peter Schofield, the Permanent Secretary for the Department for Work and Pensions.

As part of Employability Day 2019 Mr Schofield learnt about how ThinkForward is closing the inequality gap by supporting young people in Kent, Nottingham and East London to develop the skills and experiences they need to get ready for the world of work.

David Dobson, Head of Operational Engagement at COOK, one of our business partners in Kent, spoke about why ThinkForward is the perfect match for the business: “We’re looking for opportunities to inspire young people because they’re the future of our company. We have to think differently because we’re up against a lot of different competitors, so we’re looking ahead and how we can tap into the potential of the local workforce of the future.”

Everyone present also heard from Connor, a Year 10 student from Strood Academy in Kent who spoke about his journey with ThinkForward and how he now has a clear career goal. He said: “Thanks to the work insight opportunities I’ve had with ThinkForward I know that I want to be a chef and what I need to do to get there. My self-assuredness has also improved massively. Two years ago, I would never have thought I would be here speaking to a room full of professional adults, that’s completely thanks to ThinkForward. Without my coach Julian I wouldn’t be where I am now.”

Mr Schofield took the opportunity to answer questions on work being done within the civil service is doing to address some of the challenges faced by disadvantaged young people and how the government might be able to work with employability charities in future.

“It was great to meet and hear about the great work ThinkForward, with Impetus, are doing to support young people into employment through their five-year programme. It was particularly interesting to hear about this through the personal experience of ThinkForward’s student ambassador Connor, who brilliantly exemplified the difference that ThinkForward can make to a young person, by talking me through his own journey in a confident and engaging way. Many thanks for a very interesting visit.”