STEAM University

A project by: Dan Firth


WE RAISED £40,402

from 14 donors

This project received pledges on Fri 03 Apr 2015
Powering the new economy with young talent


STEAM University, is a new social enterprise powered by Citizens UK that aims to address Britain's growing youth unemployment problem with a simple but effective solution.

In London, 25% of young people are out of work. Many young people are struggling to get into careers because they don't have either the right skills required for the workplace or the social networks that can help them get a foot in the door. There are clear signs of jobs growth in certain industries. By 2020, sectors such as technology, health and engineering (STEAM sectors) will need 1.5 million new recruits. However, employers in these sectors are struggling to recruit candidates with the right skills and qualities for the job. 

STEAM University aims to bridge this opportunity gap by connecting employers in skills gap sectors with talented young people from high unemployment neighbourhoods. And, by doing so, transform the recruitment of major employers to hire and train more local people from diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds and power the UK's new economy.

about Citizens uk

Over the last three years, Citizens UK has built a track record of getting untapped talent into jobs.  In 2012, we recruited 1300 local people into Living Wage employment during the Olympics, adding £1.3 million to the local economy. Since the Olympics we have built on this model and are now at the forefront of transforming recruitment in the ‘Tech’ sector by working with leading companies to bridge the gap between the technology industry and some of London’s boroughs that have the highest youth unemployment rates in the country. This year, as a result of our work, 65 young people kick-started their careers in Tech.

We now have a tried and tested model of community based recruitment, employability skills training and community based support that can bridge Britain’s growing opportunity divide.

We meet thousands of young people in London and we are appalled by the numbers of  young people whose talent is wasted. Not because they are not ambitious or exceptional but because they have been born in the 'wrong' part of town and as a result are unable to get their foot in the door into exciting and well paid careers. This is all the more shocking when you understand that many growth industries are desperate to recruit - but can't find the talent. 

Take the Tech Industry for example,  over 2000  businesses are clustered around Shoreditch's 'Silicon Roundabout'  - needing approximately 700,000 new recruits by 2020. At the same time youth unemployment in many of the surrounding neighbourhoods in Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets stands at over 30%.This is what I call the opportunity gap - and we are determined to bridge it. That's why over the last 12 months we have got over 65 young people from local neighbourhoods into jobs in the Tech Sector. 

But its not only the Tech sector that is struggling. the Creative Industries, Health and Engineering have all been identified as growth sectors collectively known as STEAM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Arts and Maths)  which are projected to need 1.5 million new recruits by 2020. 


STEAM University is a social enterprise that will effectively bridge the opportunity gap between employers in skills gap sectors and young people from deprived neighbourhoods. Rather than being re-active and trying to connect young people to employment opportunities once when its often too late. STEAM University will provide a three year programme that will build a pipeline of talent into the STEAM sector by bring employers and colleges together. It will build the professional networks of young people, increase their employability skills and expose them to industry innovators and the workplace..

Throughout the programme every participant will be supported by a community sponsor who will help to ensure - no matter how tough it gets - every individual will be supported through the programme.

But it's not only about the individual, at the heart of work is a belief in the power of communities to work together to make a difference. So running throughout the programme will be a strong ethos of giving back. Students will be not be expected to work on programmes for the common good, but Alumni will be encouraged to support new recruits as the programme grows. Therefore growing a real sense of a shared network that will grow and grow.

In year 1, we will train young people in business critical skills, such as public speaking and interview techniques, whilst at the same time exposing them to Industries across the STEAM sector through work experience. In year 2, students will get to specialise in their chosen field, Tech, Health or Engineering and will be given mentors and intensive work experience. And in year 3, after finishing their college programme, students will get the opportunity to kick start their careers in their chosen industry.

Where will the money go?

By supporting STEAM University- you will directly help us to bridge Britain's growing opportunity gap - and stop Britain wasting talent by enabling us to equip 125 young people with the right skills, connections, work experience and kick start their career - STEAM Ahead!

For every student to complete the STEAM University programme it will cost £1920 per candidate. This will pay for their employability skills training, work experience, access to innovators from the sectors and mentors over two years. These costs also include staffing and overheads, such as office hire and computers.

For 125 students to graduate and kick start their future careers we are looking to raise £340,000. We have already raised £220,000 and need to raise a further £120,000.


We have some fab rewards to thank everyone who donates, whatever the amount you might give. Check them out.

Find us here

- Follow us on twitter and find out how we're doing @citizensuk

Help us succeed!

- You don't need to give money to help us succeed! Please share this project with anyone you think would support us – on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, by email, telephone, in a chat over the fence or on your blog.

- In fact, share it with everyone you know as we think it's a great idea, and the more people who know about it, the more likely we are to make this work out brilliantly.

- And we know we said you don't need to give money to help us, but we'd love it if you did! Please sponsor us and help make this happen.