Locksmith from band Rudimental and Kanya King CBE, Founder of the MOBO awards, hosted 60 young people from London and Birmingham to celebrate their graduation from training for work programme, Street Elite.
The graduation took place on 22 July via zoom and was the climax of the nine-month mentoring programme, which uses sport to engage unemployed young people and help them find a job or a place in college.
Locksmith and Kanya King congratulated the young people on their journey through the programme and gave them words of encouragement for the future.
Kanya King, who re-mortgaged her house to fund the ground-breaking MOBO Awards, shared her experiences about growing up, taking chances, and planning ahead. She praised the programme saying:
“In these turbulent times, finding a job or progressing in a career when just starting out in the workplace, is no longer guaranteed. When we add in the wider anxiety about future prospects, it can become a little overwhelming. Therefore, having access to mentors and coaches, who understand your needs and who can help you navigate your way in the world, is so invaluable. This is something I would have really welcomed (and needed) as a young person growing up in a large family of nine without any guidance whatsoever.”
Locksmith also shared his experiences and spoke about how he had used sport as a way to remain focused and career-driven. He said:
“When I was younger, my dad wasn’t around that much. I lacked a male role model and there was a lot of temptation to get caught up in the wrong crowd. I was fortunate enough to get into sport early on – it taught me a lot about controlling my temper, my feelings, and my anger.
I think mentoring programmes like Street Elite can help you develop these skills. They help give a sense of direction. When you start thinking about a job, you’re thinking about your security, your future and you’re building a platform to succeed in their life.”
After celebrating the graduation, the young people got to speak with the two celebrities and ask questions.
Youth employment programmes are especially important in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic after a report from Resolution Foundation found that youth unemployment in the UK could rise by 640,000 this year – taking the total above one million.
Street Elite celebrates its ninth anniversary this year. So far, 340 young people from some of London’s toughest neighbourhoods have successfully moved into work, education, or training. The programme has worked in London since 2011 and started in Birmingham this year. The model has been backed by the Mayor of London, with City Hall directly funding this programme.
A recent report by Bean Research found that for every £1 invested in Street Elite, it generates £10.72 in social value over 3 years.
For more information, visit: https://www.thechangefoundation.org.uk/programmes/