Last week (Wednesday 28 March), London’s City Hall opened its doors to welcome young people from our new and bespoke pilot HeadStart Action.

Twenty-nine students from Ark Globe Academy in Southwark were visiting Matthew Ryder, London’s deputy mayor for social integration, social mobility and community engagement, to showcase some of the skills they’ve gained at the half-way point of their 12-week programme.


Deputy mayor for London, Matthew Ryder, meets HeadStart Action students at City Hall in March 2018

The young people showcased their social action project themed around ‘youth engagement’ by acting and speaking about issues that matter to them – everything from peer pressure to the environment, relationship breakdowns to stereotyping people.

Teean Smith-Robinson at The Challenge, said: "This is such an exciting new programme and as a team, we can all feel so proud of this showcase at City Hall. We saw these students speak passionately and confidently, having produced performance pieces featuring topics and issues that society grapples with every day, yet showing us their unique perspective. This pilot puts the focus on their future and strengthens their self-belief at a pivotal point in their life."

HeadStart Action focuses on increasing confidence, self-direction, self-awareness, communication skills and, ultimately, on enhancing employability. At the end of the programme, following employability skills workshops and mentoring, each student is guaranteed an interview for a week of work experience with Lendlease, a leading construction and infrastructure company.

At the event, deputy mayor Matthew Ryder, said: “It’s exciting to see what these students are capable of. I want to see them express their ideas on what we should be doing and feel a part of London’s future”.

Paul King, managing director of sustainability and external affairs at Lendlease, encouraged the young people to ‘figure out your passion’. He said: “We are very proud to support these students and I encourage them to get involved through a work placement opportunity. The construction industry needs to attract the brightest people, to work on projects meeting today’s needs with those of the future.”

Local charity partners London Bubble Theatre Company and Football Beyond Borders, who have worked with the group of students, were also at the event.