BT Partners with Rio Ferdinand Foundation to Kick start young peoples’ careers

BT and the Rio Ferdinand Foundation (RFF) today announced a new partnership to help young people learn the skills they need to help them get into work.

Rio Ferdinand and Liz Williams surprises a group of young people, (left to right) Jade Harrison, Mohammed Ali-Conteh, Ibrahim Kanu and Michael Kuku to celebrate the partnership between BT and the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, at the Oval Cricket Ground, London.

The two organisations will work together with partners from the national 5 Star Active partnership to provide mentoring and teaching skills for work and help young people from deprived communities.

BT’s Work Ready programme is designed to help 14-24 year-olds build confidence and get the essential skills and work experience they need to get a job. Set up by Rio Ferdinand, the legendary Manchester United and England defender, the RFF provides mentoring and employment pathways to help young people in economically deprived communities.

Rio Ferdinand, said: “I’m really excited to strike-up this partnership with BT and the prospect of working together to help youngsters gain the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the world of work.

“It was the natural fit for me, given the shared ambitions that we both have in this area. Some great work is already being done by both organisations, but by working together we hope to make an even greater difference.”

Liz Williams, BT director of tech literacy and education programmes, said: “This partnership is the start of something brilliant.  By combining forces we can help even more young people across the UK to gain the crucial work skills they need to go on and secure a job.”

BT currently offers a range of pre-employment opportunities through the BT Work Ready programme including traineeships, work placements, and skills-for-work boot camps.

The Rio Ferdinand Foundation aims to offer support to young people through positive activities, mentoring, and skills for employment and enterprise, specifically in areas of high economic deprivation.

More than 1,000 young people have taken part in BT traineeships and work placements so far with over 50% going on to secure jobs or continue with their education. The Rio Ferdinand Foundation has worked with 5,000 young people in South London and Manchester.

Both organisations will now collaborate and share best practice to help young people improve their career prospects. With the world of work getting more competitive, both organisations want to ensure as many young people as possible have the sufficient confidence, knowledge and vital skills for work, that they will need to go on a get a job.