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About the EY Foundation

Giving young people a great start to their working lives

Our Ambition

We will enable all young people on Free School Meals to have an employment and earnings potential that is equitable to other young people in the UK. We will do so in collaboration with employers and key partners, through employability skills programmes, scalable digital interventions, and by leveraging our convening power to influence systemic change.


What we do

More than 1 in 5 young people in the UK are eligible for free school meals. That's over two million young people.


Young people from low-income backgrounds are three times more likely to be unemployed by the age of 27. This negatively impacts their chance of future success, their wellbeing, their local community, and wider society.  That's why the EY Foundation exists - to help level the playing field so that all young people have the same opportunities to succeed.


An independent charity, we bring young people and employers together to deliver high-quality employability skills training, paid work experience, and mentoring. Our programmes build aspiration, confidence, and a greater sense of purpose.


We operate in regions across the country, enabling young people from a low-income background to access the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to help them thrive in the workplace.


It's not just the young people who benefit – by collaborating closely with employers, our professional, insight-based approach directly benefits them too. By working with local talent, employers can build a more diverse workforce and increase staff engagement.


Our delivery focused approach generates insights to influence the actions of business and government, helping ensure all young people from a low-income background can succeed in the workplace.

Our priorities

Drawing on our areas of expertise, we have identified four areas of focus to support young people directly and help achieve systemic change.


All young people eligible for free school meals receive consistent, relevant, and high-quality careers support throughout their primary and secondary education. This will generate the knowledge and aspiration to ignite and inspire their career ambitions. Inspiring role models will fuel self-belief and raise awareness about what is possible and what they can achieve. 

All young people eligible for free school meals participate in high quality mandatory work experience at key points in their education. This will follow a model of delivery tailored to their needs, the opportunities in different locations and sectors of the economy, creating systemic change which benefits all young people.  

Employers drive social mobility within their organisations, committing to recruit young people from FSM backgrounds. This is done through inclusive recruitment, progression, and retention practices. In turn, it will help address skills gaps and ensure organisations benefit from untapped, diverse talent. 

All young people eligible for free school meals understand the opportunities and have the skillsets needed to thrive in the future of work. Rapidly evolving technologies will unlock, rather than entrench barriers to social mobility.  

Our values

  • Growth mindset - To increase our impact on more young people through dedication, innovation and hard work.
  • Courage - To use new learning and diversity of thought to challenge the status quo; embracing lessons learned even if a project misses its targets.
  • Empower our team - Everyone is supported to succeed in their role through opportunities to learn, develop and take on new challenges.
  • Collaboration - To build relationships internally and externally, to share ideas, embed an inclusive approach and achieve bigger outcomes.

Our relationship with EY

We are an independent registered charity, however we are a member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited. We are extremely grateful to have a five-year funding agreement and Master Services Agreement in place with EY, supporting us to carry out our work and make a positive impact on young people and social entrepreneurs.


Please note we are not a grant-giving organisation and rely on the support of funders such as EY to run our programmes.

Find out more

Learn more about our programmes and how to support or work with us.