East London Graduates can take fast lane to employment

Minister of State for Higher Education, David Lammy MP, will today announce the launch of ‘Fastlaners’, an East London-based scheme to help graduates make the transition into the world of work.

The ‘Fastlaners’ scheme, funded by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and run by the Young Foundation, is a 21st century intensive two week ‘finishing school’ that helps graduates to help each other in navigating the jobs market. It will provide graduates with the skills they need to develop their ambitions and move into rewarding jobs and work placements.

‘Fastlaners’ acts as a crash course on everything from voice training to team working and workplace etiquette. It involves robust feedback as well as support from volunteer mentors from different sectors and aims to build graduates’ ‘soft skills’, skills that raise their confidence, widen their networks and increase their awareness of the labour market. It also encourages them to work with other graduates

Minister of State for Higher Education David Lammy said:

“I believe funding Fastlaners will make a real difference and ensure graduates from one of the poorest areas of London get an extra leg-up after leaving university.

“Particularly in these more challenging times, Fastlaners provides real help for new graduates to learn the types of skills which are so vital for the workplace.

“Fastlaners brings young people into one place working together, learning from experienced mentors, to boost their confidence and reassure them that they are not alone.”

Rushanara Ali, Associate Director of the Young Foundation, said:

“The current recession is hitting young people the hardest. In the East End of London we have one of the highest rates of graduate unemployment in the country, yet we are bordering on Canary Wharf and the City of London – forming some of the richest square miles on the planet.

It is vital that the enormous talent among young graduates doesn’t get wasted. We can’t afford to have a lost generation. Fastlaners is one of a number of projects trying to give rapid and intensive, high quality training and support to make sure graduates get a foot in the door of employment. We are delighted with the employer engagements and support from Canary Wharf Group and I hope the financial and other sectors will join forces to help release the potential of the talented graduates who are on their doorsteps.”

Howard Dawber, Strategic Advisor, Canary Wharf Group plc, which is supporting the scheme said:

“Around 21,000 East Londoners currently work at Canary Wharf in a diverse range of jobs; however we want to do much more to help local people, particularly young people, achieve their ambitions.
“This project is part of a new initiative to give graduates in East London the best possible chance to access the huge opportunities provided by the continuing success and growth of Canary Wharf.”

The Young Foundation ran a pilot scheme 18 months ago, after which 90% of the students who attended the course were given jobs or placements. The ‘finishing school’ will reach new graduates and current undergraduates in East London and the Young Foundation are currently recruiting for a course which will run from the end of May.

The ‘Fastlaners’ scheme is a collaborative effort from a variety of stakeholders. As well as funding from the Government, many people are giving up time and advice to help get the project off the ground including Queen Mary University and Edge Foundation. In addition to this, Canary Wharf Group plc is offering office space in which to run the scheme over a two year period.

For further information please contact:
Hamish McDougall, Canary Wharf Group
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7 418 2326 or +44 (0) 7779 888 075
Email: hamish.mcdougall@canarywharf.com