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FastFutures Launches – A ground-breaking digital skills programme, backed by leading global employers to prevent a lost generation

  • FastFutures is a ground-breaking digital and personal skills programme, coaching education leavers on vital workplace skills, backed by leading global employers to help secure part or full-time employment
  • Aiming to provide tens of thousands of free places annually, with inaugural 12-week programme launching with 1,000 free places
  • The programme will be a critical part of the national effort to turbocharge the country’s COVID-19 economic and productivity recovery, bridging the gap between education and employment, and supporting existing government initiatives
  • Designed to appeal to and prioritise underrepresented groups using a transformative approach to deliver a diverse group of participants and help address inequalities across the workforce
  • A unique skills and experience programme that bridges the transition for young people from education to employment, empowering them with the business, technology, data, finance and personal life skills that UK employers need to create opportunities for this generation. The holistic (virtual and physical, supported by tutors) learning experience builds skills in the context of working life, giving young people unprecedented access to leading employers through virtual business visits, live CEO Q&A sessions and an employer-led mentoring programme, culminating in an employer interview to prepare every young person for beginning their working life.
  • Founding employers include a cross sectoral group of the biggest and most innovative companies in the world alongside start-ups and scale-ups: AstraZeneca, Agilisys,, Barclays, Blenheim Chalcot, BT, Legal & General, Modulr, Health Education England and its partner NHS bodies, Octopus Group, Salary Finance and Tate & Lyle. These employers have provided the investment and content to create this unique programme.

FastFutures is a unique programme designed to provide participants with the skills employers value now and in the future, futureproofing careers and limiting a potentially damaging skills gap for this generation entering employment. The programme is fully scalable and aims to provide tens of thousands of free places annually. The inaugural 12-week programme is being launched with 1,000 free places funded by the founding employers. Additional cohorts of a similar sizes are expected in the months ahead as more businesses partners join the programme.

COVID-19 has resulted in limited available internships and work placements which traditionally provide the vital experiences and business skills that help to secure full-time employment. For the first and most important 6 months of their working lives, this generation is facing an employment wasteland before employers start to hire again in early 2021. FastFutures will provide this age-group with a bridge from education to career opportunities, with a programme specifically designed to develop the skills most valued by employers, both today and in the years’ to come.

The UK has never seen a greater demand, nor an immediate requirement, for digital skills. FastFutures will help to solve this critical shortage, preparing individuals as companies accelerate to a digital workplace. There is a grave risk that the COVID-19 impact will inflict a double blow on our workforce: a wasted generation and a crippling shortage of the digital and technology skills that the UK vitally needs to kick-start its economic recovery.

Diversity and inclusion are fundamental to FastFutures. The programme will use a carefully tailored, and fully inclusive recruitment process to appeal to and prioritise underrepresented groups to deliver a diverse cohort of participants. To encourage diversity across the participant pool, recruitment will focus on cognitive ability over verbal and numerical reasoning, helping to assess potential and talent. FastFutures is partnering with outreach networks to encourage under-represented groups to apply from a truly diverse range of ethnic, socio-economic, geographical and gender identities. This transformative approach is critical to helping to address inequalities across the workforce and promoting social mobility.

FastFutures has been designed in collaboration with its founding employers to ensure the skills developed are those in demand from employers. Successful applicants will learn practical, business-focused skills via a 12-week programme, alongside site visits to founding employer workplaces, coaching and mentoring from business experts. Modules include a practical business project, the role of data in a commercial setting, marketing, the importance of teamwork, and a basic understanding of finance. Online modules will be taught through set weekly learning hours, in addition to collaborative workshops, group projects and seminars, all using Avado’s connected learning platform. Coupled with this, mentors, provided by founding employers, will advise on the softer skills needed to succeed in the workplace.

The founding employers, AstraZeneca, Agilisys,, Barclays, Blenheim Chalcot, BT, Legal & General, Modulr, Health Education England and its partner NHS bodies, Octopus Group, Salary Finance and Tate & Lyle, have committed the financial resources to ensure that this programme is free for all participants, enabling any individual to apply regardless of circumstance and background. The employers will also provide mentor support across the programme and have guaranteed job interviews with employment opportunities for those that are successful through their assessment processes.

FastFutures is being launched by Blenheim Chalcot, the UK’s leading digital venture builder, and will be delivered by Avado, the country’s leading digital vocational skills provider, supported by Hive Learning to enable a modern, social learning experience. We are also working with the Local Enterprise Partnership Network so see how LEPs’ existing skills infrastructure could be deployed to speed up implementation and extend FastFuture’s reach to young people at a local level.

Applications for the first cohort of the programme open today, 28th July 2020 , closing on 13th August 2020, and as additional employers join we will be able to open up applications for the next cohorts throughout this year. Further details are available here.