Berkeley Foundation grants test new approaches to empower young women into work header image

Berkeley Foundation grants test new approaches to empower young women into work

Fresh approaches to supporting young women from marginalised communities to get into work are underway in London, Birmingham and the South of England.

Young women leaving care in Birmingham, female prisoners in Kent, and 16-30 year old women from BAME communities across London are just some of the hundreds to receive employment support and training, thanks to funding provided by The Berkeley Foundation's Community Investment Fund.

Grants have just been awarded to six new charity partnerships which will pilot new approaches, join up services and expand proven employment programmes. One-to-one business mentoring, career-specific training, apprenticeships, and job brokerage are some of the approaches on offer.

The £350k Empowering Young Women into Work funding programme was set up to improve access to employment for young women from underrepresented groups. The ultimate aim is to reduce barriers to work and expose more young women to sustainable career opportunities.

Young people aged 16-24 face the highest levels of unemployment in Britain. Young women face higher levels of unemployment than young men.

A 2017 report for the Young Women's Trust found that economically inactive young women, in particular, tend to be 'written off', and are offered limited support.

The Foundation's latest grant programme commits grants between £25,000 - £70,000 over the next two years. Funded projects will be delivered by The Baytree Centre, Beating Time, City Gateway, Leadership Through Sport & Business, Women into Construction CIC and Young Women's Trust.

The projects will span London including the boroughs of Lambeth, Barking & Dagenham and Tower Hamlets. Programmes will also be delivered in Kent and the City of Birmingham.

The Empowering Young Women into Work projects are:

  • The Baytree Centre - The Women into Work project brings together the expertise of three local charities aiming to help young women in Lambeth move through local services towards employment. Working in partnership with High Trees Community Development Trust and Spiral Skills, The Baytree Centre will support 70 young women through one-to-one mentoring, employability skills workshops and one-to-one employment advice and job brokerage.
  • Beating Time - Berkeley Foundation is supporting Beating Time to expand its proven Prison Creative and Enterprise Programme to a women's prison for the first time. The charity will support 50 women at HMP East Sutton Park Kent to develop self-confidence and employability, with a focus on helping them to set up their own businesses. Participants will receive one-to-one business mentoring and professional coaching, underpinned by weekly choir sessions aimed at improving confidence and mental wellbeing. Working in partnership with employability specialists, the project will provide up to 12 months of on-going business support to women on release.
  • City Gateway -The Equipping Young Women for their Future project will focus on removing confidence and childcare barriers among 200 young women from Tower Hamlets. Berkeley Foundation is supporting the charity to expand its proven progression coaching model to its women's programme, which will provide participants with one-to-one and group coaching over two years. The project will also increase the charity's crèche provision.
  • Leadership Through Sport & Business - LTSB uses sport leadership, employability and apprenticeships to support young people into work. Funding from the Berkeley Foundation will enable the charity to increase female participation in their work by almost 60%. The Women's Economic Empowerment and Leadership programme will support 75 young women across North, East, and South-west London, and the City of Birmingham. Participants will engage in a Sport Leadership and employability training programme, followed by paid accountancy apprenticeships with leading businesses.
  • Women into Construction - The organisation will work with college leavers in Barking & Dagenham and young women leaving the care system in Birmingham. It will provide construction-specific career advice and guidance for 60 young women, followed by technical training, supported work placements and support into employment.
  • Young Women's Trust - Berkeley Foundation is supporting the expansion of the charity's free employability and confidence project Work it Out, enabling 300 young women across London to access telephone coaching and personalised CV and job application feedback. The project's convenient and flexible support model caters for struggling young women who may lack the confidence or ability to access support in person.

 Caroline Guarnaccia, CEO of The Baytree Centre, said:

"The Baytree Centre, High Trees Community Development Trust and Spiral Skills are part of a strong and well established VCS partnership based in Lambeth. With the support of The Berkeley Foundation we will be delivering a 2 year long programme 'Women into Work' (WIW) which will support some of the most excluded young women in the borough to gain both the skills and emotional capabilities to prepare and access the job market. We are so grateful to The Berkeley Foundation for their generous grant for this much needed work".

Sally Dickinson, Head of the Berkeley Foundation said:

"The Berkeley Foundation is committed to helping young people overcome barriers to work and access decent employment. Each of the organisations we are funding is working to empower young women with the skills, confidence and tools to take their first steps into employment. There are six exciting, collaborative organisations here and I can't wait to see what we can achieve by working together."

For more information about the six funded projects, visit

The Berkeley Foundation's current Community Investment Fund programme - Skills for Positive Futures - is open to applications between 3 June - 3 July 2019 and will support prevention and early intervention work with young people at risk of exclusion and vulnerable to involvement in violence.