Friday 10 October 2014 – Media Release

Canary Wharf Group hosts UpRising to boost graduate employment in East London

UpRising, a UK-wide youth leadership development organisation is today celebrating the completion of an intensive and innovative training and development residency for unemployed East Londoners. The two-week event has been held at Canary Wharf Group plc’s High Growth Space, on the forty-second floor of One Canada Square.

The programme, known as Fastlaners, works with graduates under the age of 24 who have been on Job Seekers Allowance for more than thirteen weeks, to equip them with the knowledge, networks, skills and confidence to find meaningful employment.

Inspired by the research of the Young Foundation, Rushanara Ali, Former Shadow Minister for Education, co-founded UpRising in East London in 2008. The organisation now runs several youth leadership programmes across the country, of which Fastlaners is one. The aim of their collective work is to address issues of social mobility amongst young people, and to open pathways to power for talented young people from diverse and under-represented backgrounds, by equipping them with the knowledge, networks, skills and confidence to fulfil their leadership potential and find new opportunities.

Fastlaners aims to bridge the gap between the high level of unemployment in East London and the area’s thriving business community by upskilling graduates in a professional environment. Since 2010, 75% of Fastlaners’ participants have moved into employment or training. Employers include BT, the Treasury, Nexus, Citibank and Gumtree.

As part of the residency, Canary Wharf Group provided mentors from Level39, its technology accelerator for businesses innovating in financial, retail and future city technologies. Level39 helps growing businesses to develop world-class technology products and services through unrivalled access to business support, workspace, social networks, events, investment and cultural amenities at nearby Canary Wharf.

John Garwood, Group Company Secretary, Canary Wharf Group said: “We are pleased to be supporting Uprising’s campaign to help local young people find worthwhile employment, as part of our ongoing community engagement programme. As London’s economic powerhouse, the business community at Canary Wharf should play a role in nurturing new talent and we are facilitating this process by committing an inspiring backdrop, access to our networks and senior-level mentors to the Fastlaners scheme. We hope to continue to support this fantastic initiative.”

Rushanara Ali, MP Bethnal Green and Bow, Co-Founder and Chair of UpRising, said: “East London has a disproportionately high level of graduate unemployment. By providing this level of active support, Canary Wharf Group is demonstrating to the business world the benefits of getting involved and how they can play a key role in redressing the balance. The course gives young people access to professional networks, jobs, knowledge and soft skills so that they can take their job search to another level and prepare themselves to become the business leaders of tomorrow. This will not only improve their own prospects but those of the residents in my constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow and across East London.”
UpRising has broad cross party support and Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and Leader of Opposition Ed Miliband are its patrons.


For further information, please contact:
Ajay Teli
Canary Wharf Group plc
T: +44 (0)20 7418 2326

Sarah Bishell
FTI Consulting
T: +44 (0) 20 3727 1050


Fastlaners case study – Habiba Khanam
Habiba, 23, from Poplar, was the first person in her family to go to university, where she studied Early Childhood Studies. After graduating, she found it very difficult to find work, making hundreds of applications. Though occasionally called to interview, Habiba lacked the confidence to perform well, and had no one to advise her about where she was going wrong.

After 9 months of job-seeking, Habiba joined the Fastlaners programme. Over two weeks, her confidence increased drastically, and she went from not being able to speak in front of a group to giving a presentation at the end of the programme. Fastlaners taught Habiba the value of volunteering, and after the programme she began volunteering at a number of local community organisations to build up her experience.

Through Fastlaners, Habiba found out about the EaGLES scheme, which places graduates in city firms. With her new found confidence and experience, as well as the support of her mentor, Habiba managed to beat 70 other applicants and sail through five application rounds to secure a role at Citibank. Habiba says Fastlaners “believed in me when I myself didn’t and really pushed me.”

About Canary Wharf Group plc
Canary Wharf Group plc is an integrated property development, investment and management group of companies. It is focussed on the design, construction, leasing and management of grade A office space and high-quality retail, residential and leisure facilities in central London. Over the past 20 years Canary Wharf Group has regenerated derelict wharves into one of the world’s premier business and shopping districts, constructing over 16m sq ft of office space; more than any other company in London. These buildings are now occupied by over 100,000 people.

Canary Wharf Group’s tenants, clients and occupiers include some of the world’s leading business organisations from the media, legal, accounting, financial services, IT, energy and transport sectors. Canary Wharf Group has also developed and successfully let over 300 shops, bars, cafes and restaurants including many of Britain’s leading brands.

In addition to development on the Canary Wharf Estate, the Group is also involved with projects across London. The Pan Peninsula and Drapers Gardens developments have been successfully completed and construction continues on 20 Fenchurch Street (Walkie Talkie) in the City of London which is already 87% let. The Group is also in a joint venture with Qatari Diar for the redevelopment of the Shell Centre on London’s South Bank.

About Level39 at Canary Wharf
Established by Canary Wharf Group plc, at 29,000 square feet, Level39 is Europe’s largest accelerator space for businesses innovating in financial, retail and future city technologies. It helps growing businesses to deliver world-class financial technology products and services through unrivalled access to office, event and social facilities, new customers, partners, talent, investment, ideas and social and cultural amenities provided by Canary Wharf.

Level39’s layout has been designed in ‘tech industry’ style by architects Gensler, who have worked on some of the world’s most exciting workspaces including offices for Facebook and Google. Since beginning fit-out in October the space has been transformed to include:

• An exclusive set of ‘sandboxes’ – think spaces which will enable accelerator programmes, software engineers and builders of financial services platforms to refine, test and showcase transformative technologies in a safe, ring-fenced environment
• A growth-phase zone for businesses experiencing rapid expansion, making it easier to meet potential clients and partners, investors, mentors and other entrepreneurs. This includes an open plan kitchen with an iPad-powered coffee machine
• Drop in space, hot and fixed desks available for hire
• A new 200 seat event space to host regular industry events and demonstration days, with some of London’s best views
• A modern reception area visually reflecting the technological innovation taking place at Canary Wharf and further afield, leading to a future ‘Technology Tunnel’ designed to showcase new IT products and services in an interactive way
• An express elevator with Level39 as the first stop
• The Level39 Business Club Lounge, which will host a membership-style club attracting leading industry figures and investors
• Semi-open and open-plan office areas to service the needs of early-stage and growth phase businesses

Prices for use of Level39 are subsidised by Canary Wharf Group and set at achievable levels for small companies.