Foundation of Light renews partnership to promote social mobility for Sunderland youngsters

Hundreds of young people on Wearside will continue to access crucial education and employment skills after the Harrison Centre for Social Mobility renewed its partnership with the Foundation of Light.

Based at the Beacon of Light, the agreement will ensure a fifth year of tuition and training from the centre to help unemployed and young people who have recently left school to grow in confidence, gain qualifications and skills and ultimately secure a job.

Over the last five years thousands of young people aged 13 and over have taken part in courses providing essential skills in ICT, Managing Finances, Maths and English, Personal and Social Development and Business & Enterprise.

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This year alone, despite the impact of Covid, nearly 750 sessions were delivered face-to-face at the centre with over 50 qualifications achieved.

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The centre was founded by entrepreneur David Harrison in 2017 with a belief that no one should be held back by background or upbringing and, in partnership with the Foundation, works with organisations to support disadvantaged people into employment.

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David Harrison said: “We are delighted to continue our work with the Foundation of Light. I believe everyone needs a second or third chance, so if things don’t work out at school there should still be opportunities available. Jobs are vital to improving social mobility and both skills and education are key.

“The role of the Harrison Centre is to help young people get a job and then keep it until they get a better one. There’s a genuine community within the Beacon of Light and it’s no surprise the Foundation has a national and international reputation as their work and staff are outstanding. They care about the community and helping people create better lives for themselves.

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Founder of the Harrison Centre for Social Mobility, David Harrison, meets with Sir Bob Murray CBE, chairman of the Foundation of Light in the Beacon of Light.

“We share a common goal and we’re only too happy to renew our successful partnership. It’s a great charity to be involved with – I’d urge others to get involved too.”

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Since 2017, the Harrison Centre has supported the investment of over £250,000 into employability programmes run by the Foundation.

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Sir Bob Murray CBE, chairman of the Foundation of Light, added: “We are thrilled the Harrison Centre for Social Mobility and the Foundation of Light will continue to work together to support young people in our communities.

“Much has been achieved together over the last five years but myself and David have a long-term vision to create a sustainable portfolio of programmes to support our young people to do more and be more.

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“I take great satisfaction and pride in seeing the impact the Foundation has on the lives of so many people and over the last 20 years it has supported over half-a-million people across the region.

“At a time when we are all facing unprecedented, challenging and changing times, now more than ever the Foundation - and our partners such as the Harrison Centre - matter to the people of the North East.”

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After setting up the centre, David Harrison co-founded the national Social Mobility Pledge, alongside former Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Justine Greening.

The Pledge asks businesses to commit to working with local schools, offering apprenticeships and adopting fair recruitment policies. Since it was launched, 550 businesses and universities across the UK employing seven million people have signed the Pledge.

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