SharpFutures Discover: Sponsored Work Experience

by Rose Marley in Manchester, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 14th March 2018 we successfully raised £633 with 8 supporters in 56 days

To fund & deliver work experience programmes for a diverse range of students to gain a meaningful insight into the Creative Digital sector.

by Rose Marley in Manchester, England, United Kingdom


What is the problem we're trying to solve?

For these educational experiences to be delivered in significant numbers, there is a need to pay for resources. For example, laptops or camera kit to work on, software and management support. School budgets can be restrictive even with admin fees alone but with our crowdfunding campaign, we are hoping this will allow all students across Greater Manchester the chance to attend work experience and experience the world of work in the Creative Digital sector.

1/ Work experience is proven to be successful, however, it is notoriously difficult to access in creative digital and tech.

A report published by the Education and Employers Taskforce examines youth unemployment within the UK and provides new statistical evidence which shows that the more young people (aged 14-19) come in to contact with employers whilst they are at school, the less likely they are to become NEET (19-24). 

In addition, OECD analysis demonstrates that those countries with education systems which offer combinations of classroom learning and workplace exposure linked to vocational pathways deleted typically experience much lower youth unemployment rates.

Young people are known to be especially attentive to the views of professionals they come into contact with in educational settings and overwhelmingly agree that contacts help in career decision-making.

Ultimately, given its proven that work experience improves the chance of employment, we would like to create much more work experience in Creative, Digital and Tech.

2/ There are many reasons why work experience is hard to come by in these sectors. For example:

-The Creative industries are made up of SME's that find it difficult to resource and accommodate work experience.

-It is very desirable for work experience in this sector, but the demand is greater than the supply.

-60% of digital and creative businesses in Greater Manchester do not have a training plan or training budget and 40% have not provided any training to its workforce within the last 12 months. Training most in demand within this sector includes Software and Hardware; Design Skills and; Media Skills. See the SharpFutures 5 Year Impact Report for more information.

3/ Admin costs for Schools or Pupils can create funding barriers to access.

4/ The sector is growing exponentially due to smartphones and the advancement of tech including artificial intelligence. 

The economic growth and opportunity across Greater Manchester, and ultimately the UK, is not reaching its full potential - as there are not enough people joining the sector at entry level due to the lack of awareness and how to access the sector.

SharpFutures is a social enterprise  with the following aims:

1/ The advancement of education in creative, digital and tech

2/ To build and sustain careers in the digital sector

3/ To build capacity and opportunity across the sector from deprived communities

4/ To open access to talent from a wide social background

5/ To produce local economic wealth and to grow the creative digital sector in the UK

We believe increasing the volume of credible and valuable work experience in this sector will significantly advance all of the above.

Why donate?

To help a diverse range of young people upskill and gain an insight and potential employment within the Creative Digital and tech sector.

You can sponsor a named pupil or school

This is a unique opportunity and valuable experience for young students to learn what it is like to work in a professional working environment, learn about client delivery and pick up new skills.

Your donations will also help us to help young people contribute towards the economy and increase employment prospects.

The Creative Industries have a long established record in poor social mobility and the greater awareness; the more likely young, diverse people will enter the sector.

Click here to read our Social Impact Report to see how we generated £2.4 million in social impact over the past 5 years.

We need to raise £5,000 and what we're going to do with it

What the money will be spent on:

-Funding sponsored Work Experience Students

-SharpFutures Discover tours and masterclasses delivered to classes of up to 30 pupils (per tour/masterclass)

-Equipment and software for Work Experience students to use

-Travel expenses for Schools or Colleges (coaches)

Please see the Donations and Rewards section to find out more about what the money will be spent on.

Our target is to reach £5,000 and this could pay for:

-A minimum of 20 students attending work experience with SharpFutures

-Plus a minimum of 100 students to attend creative digital tours of The Sharp Project or Space Studios Manchester to be inspired and gain an insight into the sector.

If we don’t reach our target, we can still make an impact with your donations that you have made.

Please keep checking our ‘blog’ page to keep up to date with how your donations are helping students gain experience in this ever-growing sector.

As part of work experience at SharpFutures, students will:

-Be given the chance to work on a live project; MCR Greater

-Go on a tour of a Creative and Digital working environment at The Sharp Project to see what a professional real working environment is like and meet clients of SharpFutures

-Create videos, animations, GIFs, graphics and content for use on social media whilst learning new skills, tools and methods (with support and training provided)

-Write a blog about their experience at SharpFutures reflecting upon what they have learned and what they have created

-Set up professional social media accounts (such as LinkedIn and Twitter) as well as learn how to position and market themselves professionally/use social media for business purposes

-Meet and gain advice from other young team members from diverse backgrounds such as Apprentices, Graduates, Employees and more

-Gain an insight into the Creative and Digital sector and how a Social Enterprise works, as well as learn about the services SharpFutures offers and how the business operates

-Undertake general admin tasks and assist the team where necessary such as answering phone calls, passing on messages, stationery audits, keeping the office tidy

-Learn about good timekeeping, how to take instructions successfully and good communications

Work experience students may also be given the chance to participate in supporting or attending onsite and offsite events with an opportunity to network with other professionals within the industry

They may also be invited to meetings to hear about business operations, procedures and learn about different roles and responsibilities 

Donations and Rewards 

You can donate anything from £5 to £2,000+ to SharpFutures.  

Donations will not only fund Work Experience, but also fund equipment, transport and Creative Digital experience days (hosted by SharpFutures Discover) for a School or College class in Greater Manchester.

Please see the Rewards section for more details on what each donation amount is for.

If you would like to donate over the phone or using alternative methods (such as a cheque), please contact us separately.

What is SharpFutures?

SharpFutures is a social enterprise based in Manchester that supports young people into employment in the creative, digital and tech sector. By offering a range of interventions including Apprenticeships, Work Experience and Volunteering, SharpFutures nurture the transition into work, whilst responding to the fluctuating needs of creative, digital and tech businesses.

A creative digital experience with SharpFutures Discover opens the doors to the fast-growing world of work where new entrants and educators explore new careers, are inspired by industry professionals and discover diverse pathways into this exciting sector.

SharpFutures Discover offers a variety of packages from school experience days to large-scale events. With access to a range of pioneering creative digital businesses based at The Sharp Project and Space Studios Manchester, along with a first-class network of industry experts across the UK, SharpFutures Discover offers tasters and career insights into this growth sector.

This includes:

-Work Experience in the Creative Digital sector for ages 14+ for a minimum of 5 days. Students are immersed into the world of work in the creative digital sector by supporting the SharpFutures office in basic administration as well as creating animations, a short film, content for social media and working on the live website;

-Visits to The Sharp Project or Space Studios Manchester where young people hear about and witness the variety of careers available in this sector, followed by a Creative Digital Overview. Young people will get an insight into the wide variety of jobs across the sector, how they can start to develop their future potential and how to find that first foot on the ladder.

See our pledges for work experience opportunities and work experience resources you can support from as little as £5.

Social media

We will be actively promoting this Crowdfunding campaign on our social media channels and you can stay up to date with SharpFutures via the links below:

You can find out more updates from us via our hashtags; #SharpFutures & #SharpFuturesDISCOVER

Thank you from the SharpFutures team. 

Quotes from work experience pupils

"I just want to say a big thank you to all of the staff at SharpFutures for making me feel like I was a part of this amazing company. This has been such a great experience."

Raqeem, Manchester Communication Academy

"I think it was a very important week in my life as it taught me what real work is like, and showed me what working in an office such as this one feels like. It was a very fun and educational experience that I will never forget."

Dawid, Manchester Creative Studio

"I am grateful I have had this opportunity to work here. I am grateful for all of the help I have had. I hope that in the future I could return as an apprentice and discover more new and exciting things."

Ben, St Ambrose Barlow

"I cannot put into words how much I have loved it at SharpFutures; I would much rather a work experience for a month. I feel like I have gleamed, built on, and created a myriad of new skills."

Hannah, Manchester Communication Academy


How do we know what you are spending the money on? 

We will be regularly sharing this Crowdfunding campaign across our social media channels and also posting updates via the Blog section on Crowdfunder.

If you are a donor, you may also receive updates via email of content created by Work Experience students, feedback from pupils who have attended SharpFutures Discover Creative Digital tours and masterclasses and we will also document the journey with photographs.

As a Social Enterprise, we monitor and report all of our success stories and impact yearly which is documented in our Annual Report. These are available via our website and can be emailed to you.

Why do you need the funding?

Some Schools, Colleges and Students as individuals cannot afford the transport and administration costs to be able to attend work experience or a SharpFutures Discover tour or masterclass. As a Social Enterprise, SharpFutures aims to inspire as many young people as possible and the crowdfunder campaign significantly helps to achieve this.

Where is the Work Experience available?

Work Experience is open to Schools, Colleges and Pupils located in Greater Manchester.

I have a disability, is the site accessible?

Yes, the site is fully accessible.  

How does transport work - how do you get here?

SharpFutures is based in Blue 56 at The Sharp Project in Newton Heath, Thorp Road, Manchester, M40 5BJ.

There is a Tram stop at Central Park which is a 5-10 minute walk from The Sharp Project.

Buses also stop near The Sharp Project and are less than a 5 minutes walking distance.

Do I need to bring equipment?

No, equipment will be provided by SharpFutures.

What's the age range?

Work experience is available to Secondary Schools, Academies, Sixth Forms, Colleges, Universities, Year 6 Primary Schools, Youth Groups, Housing Associations, Community Groups and any other organisations interested in the skills and development of young people.

I already have a job, but I'm thinking about working in this sector. Is that allowed?

Yes, as long as you are able to commit to the work experience hours as agreed which are Monday 11-5pm, then Tuesday to Friday 10-5pm, for a minimum of one week.

Can Teachers have Work Experience?

Yes, please see our pledges for more information. 

Can I sponsor a named Student, School or College? 

Yes, you can sponsor a specific named Student, School or College - please contact us and state this before/after donating. We may require specific details for this.

My School Isn't part of this scheme, can I get involved?

Yes, if you have been sponsored for work experience but your school isn’t signed up to SharpFutures work experience you can carry out your work experience during your school holidays.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation

£5 or more

Equipment donations: For Work Experience Students

Whether you donate £5 or more, this will go towards equipment funds for Work Experience students. Donate £5-10. Donate £20-35 for a MakeyMakey, donate £37 for a Raspberry Pi, donate £115 or more for Littlebits sets. Donate £300 for a laptop. Donate £1,000 for a lower end DSLR camera with lens and memory card.

£126 or more

SharpFutures Work Experience: Sponsor a Pupil

You can sponsor a named person for work experience with SharpFutures or someone from a named School or organisation. In their experience, they will get the opportunity to see how a real website and campaign; ‘MCR Greater’ works and provide assistance. The price does not include travel costs. We can email you an impact report on request, a thank you from the Student, and we will mention donors in a blog and also post photos if specified.

£189 or more

SharpFutures Discover: Creative Digital Tour

SharpFutures offers a tour of The Sharp Project or Space Studios Manchester for up to 30 School/College pupils, where young people hear about and see the variety of careers available in this sector, followed by a Creative Digital Overview. Pupils gain an insight into a wide range of jobs in the sector, how they can develop their futures potential and how to find that first foot on the ladder. Price excludes transport to be provided by the school

£379 or more

Travel: Coaches for Secondary Schools & Colleges

To enable Secondary Schools/Colleges to have a SharpFutures Discover tour or masterclass, a coach must be provided and paid for. This covers any Secondary School or College in Greater Manchester only to The Sharp Project. You will receive a mention in the School newsletter, social media coverage of the day and a photo for your company newsletter. We'll email a thank you letter or feedback from Students in which this has benefitted.

£500 or more

CPD Work Experience for Teachers

Sponsor a Teacher to do Work Experience in a Creative Digital environment for a week. Teachers will have a tour of The Sharp Project, set up social media accounts, attend management and strategy meetings in the desired area of understanding and learn about the career opportunities within the sector. In addition, they will receive support and advice from a SharpFutures manager from a peer to peer perspective. Transport and lunch not included.

£1,885 or more

SharpFutures Work Experience: Schools

Sponsor 10 School Pupils' work experience and have your logo and a write up in the School's newsletter. Subject to the schools' availability. In addition, a whole School class will have a Creative Digital tour of The Sharp Project. This price does not include Transport costs.

£2,000 or more

SharpFutures Discover: Creative Digital Experience

Sponsor a School or College to attend Creative Digital tours and workshops. SharpFutures have access to a range of pioneering creative digital businesses based at The Sharp Project and Space Studios Manchester. Pupils will receive hands-on workshops ranging from Green Screen Journalism to Digital Freelance Photography, Introduction to Coding & Raspberry Pi, The Digital Courtroom and Branding & Logo Design. Dinner and transport included.

£2,500 or more

CPD Events for Teachers

SharpFutures delivers ‘CPD for teachers’ at The Sharp Project to inspire and inform teachers about creative digital and tech careers, and encourage their students into the sector. The events include talks from industry speakers, breakout sessions to explore curriculum and careers and the opportunity to network with other sector professionals. The events are bespoke to the requirement of the school or sponsor. Lunch and transport not included.

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