How the Gatsby Benchmarks influenced the start of Upstart

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In 2018, I volunteered to help in PSHE classes for Year 7, working on an enterprise challenge. What I found was that the teachers were great at teaching the curriculum but teaching a class of 30 kids enterprise skills (when they have no experience themselves) was tough.

I was also a North East LEP Schools Skills Adviser at the time and was working in a school in a deprived area of Newcastle. There were so many children who had lived in families who experienced generations of poverty, with parents and grandparents unemployed or in low skilled jobs.

By helping to organise a careers fair with a huge selection of employers, it was great to see the kids coming away with experience of speaking to employers they had never heard of or considered as a career.

The careers fair and my own experience got me thinking that there were no after school clubs which focus on enterprise and business from years 5-8.

By the end of 2020, schools will also be required to offer every pupil at least seven “meaningful encounters” with employers over the course of their school career.

Upstart Enterprise after school clubs were born. Our clubs focus on Benchmarks 4. Linking curriculum learning to careers and 5. Encounters with employers and employees.

Our ethos is that enterprise should be for all, so our after school clubs will fund spaces for children who are from low income backgrounds.

By giving school children a better experience of enterprise at these ages really helps them build confidence and learn about business at an early age.

Please get in touch if your business would like to fund one of our 7-week clubs.