Mayor's Entrepreneur Competition winner, Cassie Quinn, posing for a photograph in City Hall, London.

Employment and Enterprise

Increasing awareness of opportunities, preparation for employment and better access to employers

The employment landscape has continued to be a challenging one for young Londoners as we moved out of a pandemic and into a cost-of-living crisis. Our focus on expanding our multi-sector employer network in 2022 was pivotal to securing more varied in-work opportunities for 16-24-year-olds across a diverse range of industries in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

Our annual student survey identified that young people from lower-income backgrounds, without professional networks and other social capital, are unable to get a first foot in the door when it comes to securing work experience, internships and apprenticeships.

Access Aspiration

Now in its tenth year, Access Aspiration raises awareness of different job roles, sectors and employment pathways for 16-18-year olds within our state schools network (who have above average Pupil Premium rates). 1,924 meaningful encounters were delivered with employer volunteers. 82% of students we supported this year were from Black, Asian and minoritised ethnic communities.

Through work experience, mock interviews and CV workshops, amongst other employer-led activities, we provided young people with the knowledge and skills to boost university and apprenticeship applications. Student feedback showed a striking 95% reporting increased knowledge of their career options and 86% improved motivation and confidence.

Diversity in Employment

Between 2021 – 2023, we worked with a group of committed built environment employers wanting to make their sector more inclusive to London’s diverse pool of young talent. During this time, learning events were held to engage employers and young professionals, with organisations signing a pledge commitment to tackle inequality in their businesses and proactively offer in-work opportunities to young Londoners in our networks.

Following Firm Foundations a report highlighting the successes and challenges of the campaign was conducted by a diverse group of young researchers employed by Partnership for Young London.

Creativity Works

Creativity Works is a creative industries employability project targeting 17–24-year olds not in work, education or training. This year we supported 309 young people to access high-quality skills development, employability support, mentoring and freelance guidance with dynamic creative sector businesses such as Epic Games, Meta and Sony Music Entertainment.

Over two-thirds of young people were supported into employment and self-employment outcomes. 75% of young people we engaged were from Black, Asian and minoritised ethnic communities. 82% of participants reported increased confidence and 84% reported an increase in industry contacts as a result of taking part.

Mayor’s Entrepreneur Competition

The Mayor’s Entrepreneur Competition offers higher education students in London paid internships, mentoring, and a platform to pitch innovative ideas for a chance to receive backing to bring them to life. Award categories for the start-up businesses include Creative Industries, Environment, Health, Tech and Social Enterprise.

This year, our five winners each receiving £20,000 investment in their new start-ups were: CQ Studio (turning waste into a fashion resource), Kitt Medical (anaphylaxis kit service), Paige (braille translation tool), Renter Score (renters credit service), and Team Repair (programme teaching children key science, tech and repair skills).

During 2021/22:


70 employers signed up for our Diversity Pledge campaign


3,000 students from 44 schools signed up for Access Aspiration’s careers and employability programme


73% of Creativity Works participants have been supported into employment and self-employment destinations

The Mayor’s Entrepreneur Competition in numbers:


Engaged 831 students across 39 universities


Provided 35 paid internships


Provided £100,000 of kick-start funding to help launch 5 new start-ups

“There are so many things I could say about what the Creativity Works programme has given me, not only as a young Pakistani woman, but as someone who would never have had the chance to do things like this before. It’s given me the confidence to push myself further.”

Creativity Works participant

“The Mayor’s Entrepreneur Competition brought trust in the whole team and I believe it’s like a snowball effect. The more you get this recognition, the more you start going higher and higher. That’s exactly what happened to us.”

Winner of the Mayor’s Entrepreneur Competition’s Health award