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Celebrating Cambridge Unlocked 2023

Cambridge Unlocked, a week-long programme that began on 24 July 2023, provided 16-18 year olds with an opportunity to gain invaluable experience in businesses from the Cambridge Cluster.

In collaboration with partners from the local business community including Cambridge Future Tech, Cambridge GaN Devices, Goodwin Law, Kalium Health, Neuro XR, Qkine, Robok, Xampla, Aqdot, Mills and Reeve, and Autopickr, Cambridge Unlocked offered paid internships to help develop students’ work-ready skill sets and increase confidence. This initiative also set out to grow networks between students and employers, increasing social mobility in those without the existing connections.

In September, Form the Future held a drinks reception at Sidney Sussex College bringing together the students, employers, and Form the Future staff. The big success story came from Alec Sadler who joined AutoPickr for his work experience. Not only did Alec make a tremendously positive and lasting impression on the company during his brief tenure, AutoPickr subsequently made the decision to extend him the opportunity for a permanent position, recognising his potential and commitment to the company’s success!

Kyle-James Keen, COO at AutoPickr informed us that they were “truly impressed by Alec’s exceptional skills and dedication during his time with us through the Cambridge Unlocked programme. This reaffirms our commitment to nurturing young talent and actively seeking it from alternative talent pools. This experience with Alec has led us to offer him a permanent position within our team. We are proud to have been part of Cambridge Unlocked and look forward to future collaborations.”

After the events, we caught up with Alec to find out more about his experience. Alec told us that “the team was incredible. During the internship they were very welcoming and forgiving of any mistakes I made and were a great source of knowledge on the work I was doing.”

When asked how he felt about the job offer, he said, “I was overjoyed. I’d loved the work that I was doing and got along with the team well, and I am glad they saw the potential for a team member in me.”

Finally, we ask whether Alec would recommend Cambridge Unlocked to other sixth form students. “Yes, absolutely. The internship will look amazing on your CV; give you valuable skills and lessons about the workplace and industry you are placed in based on your interests; and you may even find a company that you would wish to apply for a job later in life.”

Cambridge Unlocked was more than just an internship programme; it was designed to equip students with the skills, confidence, and connections necessary to succeed in their chosen fields. By immersing themselves in the world of work, participants gained a deeper understanding of the professional landscape and discovered their own potential.

Anne Dobree, one of Form the Future’s steering committee members, commented, “Cambridge has the third innovation ecosystem globally but is also the most unequal city in the UK. I was really excited to work with Form the Future to address this, by providing ways into the ecosystem for the young people of Cambridge who were currently disconnected from the opportunities Cambridge offers.”

For more information about Cambridge Unlocked and how to get involved in future programmes, please email Together, let’s continue to unlock the limitless possibilities for our sixth-form students.

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Our goal is that all young people move successfully from education into employment. As a social enterprise, we are reliant on grants and corporate funding in order to work with the schools across Cambridgeshire. Even the smallest donation helps us to provide careers inspiration for every child. Click below to find out more about what your donation could do for young people in your community.