Reach Society's Inspirational Programme
Reach Society was founded as a social enterprise to encourage, motivate and inspire young people from the black community to develop their potential and make a viable transition into adult life. It seeks no grant aid because it generates the resources used to fund all of its activities.
The Reach Society's Inspirational Programme (RSIP) is designed to encourage, motivate and inspire young people, particularly black boys and young black men, in all sectors of the education system (from primary to higher education) to develop their capabilities. Its aims are to support participants to:
- Develop their self and cultural esteem via contact with professionals from their background
- Build awareness of a wide range of future success pathways
- Help young people to understand the value of Russell Group Universities
- Access a wide range of employment opportunities
RSIP is made up of four distinct activities:
- Careers awareness - to help primary school children broaden their outlook at an early stage
- Employability skills building - aimed at young people aged 16 plus to help them build the necessary skills prior to seeking employment
- Cultural esteem building - helping young people aged 14 plus to select successful pathways via increasing contact with employers from the public, private and third sectors and with professionals from their cultural backgrounds; and via access to themed workshops providing key facts (for example the importance of STEM subjects, CV writing, interview skills, and the added value of Russell Group Universities)
- Mentoring – for young people to access and be inspired by trained role models
RSIP finds and secures professionals to participate in all RSIP activities. These professionals are drawn from a range of sectors, including business owners, civil service, engineering, entrepreneurs, IT sector, legal profession, local government, medicine, teaching and more.
Of all RSIP activities, the careers conference is one of the most significant events. The conference has been running for five consecutive years between 2012 and 2016 and allows young people to meet professionals from a range of sectors to discuss career opportunities, answer any questions, and to be inspired by professionals from their cultural backgrounds.
Reach Society has successfully overcome the challenges of attracting young people to attend its careers conferences and attracting professional men to be the role models featured in the RSIP. Reach Society used social media and community partners to publicise its events to young people, and also set up monthly networking conversations for professional men in order to identify the right professionals with the relevant skills for the RSIP and secure their participation.
Reach Society is a social enterprise that is led by a management team of eight volunteers and every activity draws on a wide pool of trained and untrained volunteers. In five years the number of participants in the RSIP careers conferences has grown from 400 to more than 1,050. And through all activities more than 7,500 young people have been impacted.
Specific examples of RSIP impact include:
- A young man won the Reach Society UCFB scholarship which provides him with a full scholarship worth £27,000 over three years to study for a degree in Business and Sport. He is expected to graduate in 2018.
- A young woman attended the 2015 careers conference and was so inspired by who she met she decided to study for a degree in Chemical Engineering at Nottingham University. She should complete her A levels in 2016.
- A young man hoping to attend flight school was inspired when he met an airline pilot, in the 2014 careers conference, and is now pursuing a flight engineering degree course.
- A young man unsure of which degree to study spoke to a professional man from the BBC and was inspired to study Journalism at Brunel University. He enrolled in September 2015.