Last Friday, the first group of young people to join ThinkForward’s programme celebrated amazing academic and vocational achievements at a graduation ceremony kindly hosted by Nomura, at its headquarters in the City of London.

At age 13 these 330 young people were identified as being most at risk of unemployment and were predicted to leave school at 16 with no qualifications. But after five years of intensive 1-2-1 support, they confounded expectations and have turned their predicted fortunes around.

Over ninety percent who graduated from the programme are in education, employment or training, with eighty percent achieving five GCSE’s at grades A*-C.  Around twenty-five percent passed A’levels exams or equivalent qualifications, and nineteen percent are set to go to university.

Taking into account that these young people were predicted grades E in English and Maths GCSE at the start of the programme, the progress they have made is truly exceptional.

As private equity investor and ThinkForward Chair, Charlie Green highlighted:  “Our class of 2015 are proof that, given the right support, the most disengaged young people can develop aspirations and achieve their ambitions. For this reason we felt it was important to give them the opportunity to create their own graduation event to celebrate their incredible achievements.”

In addition to receiving graduation certificates to mark their completion of the programme, ThinkForward graduates took ownership of the celebrations by taking centre stage themselves.

To an enthralled audience they delivered star-quality musical performances and moving personal testimonies in which they thanked their coaches for five years of unconditional and enduring support.

In return, showing deep appreciation for the young people they had supported, the coaches offered their parting words in a short film produced by ThinkForward graduates especially for the event.

That afternoon Nomura’s auditorium also hosted a pre-graduation reception where key donors and supporters discussed ThinkForward’s impact since its creation in 2010 and focused on setting the agenda for the future.

Commenting on the event’s success and the first group of young people to graduate from the programme, Kevin Munday, ThinkForward’s Managing Director said:

“It’s truly fantastic to see these young people graduating from our programme and I wish them all the very best for the future. Our aim is to prevent disengaged young people from becoming NEET and the destinations of this first group of 330 graduates demonstrates ThinkForward’s success. Looking ahead to the future our priority is to expand our impact, as there are still almost a million young people in the UK who need our support.”

This event was generously hosted by investment bank Nomura and sponsored by R.R Donnelly.

Read about the event in City A.M.

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