Where Will the Next Generation of Social Leaders Come From?

This was the question raised by a ‘Young Foundation’ report co-written by the founder of YEAR HERE, Jack Graham. Since then, Leading Social, Dame Mary Marsh’s review of leadership and skills in the social sector, painted a broader picture of widespread skills gaps and a lack of recognition of the role that leadership development has to play.

A talent deficit and a lack of quality professional development opportunities is worrying. Without highly skilled leaders, society will struggle to solve its own problems – from the implications of an ageing population to soaring youth unemployment. Jack also observed that high-achieving, socially-minded graduates often seem to set their sights on a career in international development, rather than making a difference in their own backyard. His own, ultimately unsatisfactory, experiences of international development inspired him to shift his attention to domestic social issues and to ponder why more people don’t aspire to social leadership at home. After winning the Evening Standard’s Ideas for London competition, Jack left the Young Foundation to kick off ‘Year Here’ pilot, a six-month leadership programme.

YEAR HERE IS A POSTGRADUATE COURSE IN SOCIAL INNOVATION BASED IN LONDON

It is a social enterprise, meaning that it exists to bring about positive change in society rather than to maximise shareholder profits. I became aware of Year Here when I was invited to a pop up supper event to celebrate Fat Macy’s third birthday. Fat Macy’s trains aspiring chefs to serve up food with heart, creating a recipe that helps young Londoners make journey from hostel to home. It is also a social enterprise serving delicious home cooked food and dining experiences at supper clubs, events and offices across London. They train and support young Londoners living in temporary accommodation and help them move into their own homes.  Year Here was launched at Number 10 Downing Street in March 2013 and, since then, has run ten programmes for 166 people and been named one of Britain’s 50 New Radicals by Nesta and The Observer.

The Faculty includes social entrepreneurs, policy makers and innovation experts – from Sophie Howarth, co-founder of School of Life, to multi award-winning social designer Lauren Currie OBE and the poet Lemn Sissay MBE. The Fellows come from all sorts of backgrounds and industries. With an average of 5 years’ career experience, they bring an incredibly diverse set of professional skills and life experiences to the programme. What unites them is their brilliant personal qualities – like resourcefulness, humility and resilience – and their passion for social action. There are no course fees. Unlike a traditional Master’s degree or postgraduate course, the tuition fee is covered by the placements. It’s immersive, action-oriented and grounded in experience. The Fellows learn from, and design with, people at the frontline of inequality – in care homes, hostels and youth services across London.
They try their hand at building creative, scalable responses to social problems, supported by industry mentoring and a rigorous social innovation curriculum.

The Fellows have collectively volunteered 110,000 hours in frontline services – including homeless shelters, community centres and Pupil Referral Units.
They’ve also launched 26 Ventures like Settle, supporting vulnerable young people who are moving into their first home, Chatterbox, a language tuition service staffed by refugees, and Birdsong, a fashion brand selling clothes handcrafted by women’s groups – from elderly knitters to migrant seamstresses – with a ‘no sweatshops, no photoshop’ ethos.Collectively they have reached over 4,000 beneficiaries, generated more than £2m revenue and received national coverage in The Guardian, Huffington Post, Independent, Daily Mail, Financial Times, Vice and BBC News. The alumni have received four Shackleton awards and four entries on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list, and won the CSJ’s Social Enterprise of the Year, among many others.
They are always on the look out for new Fellows. The interview process is rigorous. Many apply few are chosen, currently there are 18 on the programme.
They run two programmes per year, kicking off in the spring and the autumn.

Upcoming dates:
• August 2019 – May 2020
• February 2020 – December 2020
• To apply Download the prospectus

For more information click YEAR HERE

Report: Juliet Bawden 

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