Inspiring futures: King’s Cross businesses come together for joint work experience programme

For the second year running, businesses at the King’s Cross development have opened their doors to school students as part of an innovative joint work experience programme, in partnership with charity Inspire!

Six Year 10 students from Haverstock School were given the unique opportunity to undertake placements at a range of businesses in the area. Led by property developer Argent, the team of businesses included social enterprise Global Generation, construction companies BAM and Lendlease, facilities managers at King’s Cross Estates Services, KERB street food markets, student accommodation provider Urbanest and Tileyard music studios.  

Despite ongoing regeneration, Camden remains an area of high inequality. As the borough continues to attract new employers, Inspire! aims to help all local young people benefit from the opportunities on their doorsteps. The charity acted as a bridge between the students and businesses, raising young people’s aspirations while exposing employers to local talent.

The young participants took on a range of activities over the two weeks, learning new skills while meeting employees from a range of backgrounds. At Argent, students witnessed the work that goes into developing King’s Cross, one of the largest mixed-use regeneration projects in the UK. Meeting traders at KERB and cooking up delicious street food helped them to learn the secrets of running a small business. Meanwhile, Global Generation raised awareness of sustainable business, how to grow food, and market and sell produce.

This early exposure to a wide range of careers helped the students understand the world of opportunities available to them. 15-year-old participant Amira commented that, “Each placement was unique and exciting in its own way and I am very grateful and feel very blessed to have been able to take part.”

As well as a clearer understanding of their future options, 100% of the students felt they developed new skills and a better understanding of what employers look for. “I learnt communication skills, confidence, independence, innovation, punctuality, teamwork and money management” said student Courtney. Fellow participant Abigail observed that “my confidence and communication skills are much better after taking part”. After the programme, Abigail successfully secured part-time work at Urbanest, whilst fellow school friend Hana impressed hospitality managers in her first week of the programme with her excellent customer skills and work ethic, and was granted work at Kerb – Cyprus Kitchen in the future.

Taking part in the programme brought unforeseen benefits for the employers too. Wizdom Lane from Tileyard Studios said “The multi-site programme was an excellent opportunity to bring together employers across King’s Cross to support such a fulfilling and worthwhile project which enlightens Camden students of the working world, especially in such a developing area such as King’s Cross. It was such a fantastic opportunity for Tileyard to showcase career possibilities that young people are not aware of or have access to. It was great to see the student’s enthusiasm towards the many ‘hidden’ roles in the industry that they didn’t know existed!”