The Duke joined SpearHead at our base in Hammersmith to explore the issue of employability amongst socially disadvantaged young people and the greater role businesses can play in tackling the issue. The Duke described Resurgo’s initiatives SpearHead and Spear as ‘outstanding local solutions to a national problem’ and encouraged us to keep developing the excellent work he witnessed with our students and business partners.
The visit began with a private roundtable discussion hosted by our Chief Executive, Tom Jackson. Participants included Resurgo’s Managing Director Jo Rice, SpearHead Director Emily Perkin and various SpearHead partners including Marks & Spencer, Manpower and Westfield. The Duke encouraged the organisations to work together and take a holistic perspective towards addressing the youth unemployment crisis.
The Duke then took some time to step into a Spear classroom. Spear is our interactive, six-week training course for unemployed 16–24 year olds. The Duke met current Spear students, asking what their target in life was and encouraging each of them, saying ‘never be afraid to have an idea – if it doesn’t work, try another one’.
Concluding his visit with a reception, the Duke addressed current students, staff and guests. Tom Jackson shared the vision of SpearHead and introduced a short film about Spear graduate, Khadeejah Dahal, who is currently undertaking work experience at the Duke’s Office in Buckingham Palace. Following the film, the Duke gave a speech in which he said the opportunity for Khadeejah allowed her to develop her skills but it was also a trade-off – her personality and presence in the office had also made a positive difference to them as well. The Duke commented that real change begins one person at a time, and it was this personal approach to supporting each young person that underlines the value and success of SpearHead.
SpearHead’s vision is to achieve exactly what the Duke described – to help employers create a culture in which entry-level staff grow and achieve their full potential, to the benefit of both the business and the young person.