Youth Fund

We introduced the Youth Fund in 2011 to develop initiatives and activities to contribute to establishing a “Fairer Future” for Southwark’s young people preparing for employment. Originally planned as a three year initiative, in 2013 the cabinet extended the programme for a further three years, introducing a range of additional activities designed to develop the skills, expertise and experience of young people in a practical way and further prepare them for the world of work. So far the Youth Fund has had a major impact, providing 7,243 instances of support to young Southwark residents. A break down of the support is below.

Impact at a glance

Helped into employment


Received work experience, support or qualifications


University tuition paid


Grants to start their own business


Received financial assistance at 16 to 18


Southwark Council careers fair attendees


Youth Fund projects

Scholarship Scheme

The Scholarship Scheme pays the tuition fees for high achieving young residents from low income families.

Southwark Educational Maintenance Supplement (SEMS)

We feel strongly about helping young people fulfil their potential, however we recognise that some may have concerns regarding their personal finances when deciding to stay at school, go to college or attend a training provider. In 2011, we introduced the Southwark Educational Maintenance Supplement (SEMS), which helps provide financial support for eligible residents staying on in education or training. SEMS will be issued to Year 13 beneficiaries, only, who satisfy the eligibility criteria.

You must meet the following criteria to receive SEMS:

  • currently a Year 13 student
  • 16 to 18 years old
  • Southwark resident
  • eligible for free school meals
  • not receiving the £1,200 entitlement under the national 16 to 18 bursary scheme

If you meet the above criteria, contact your school, college or training provider about possibly receiving SEMS. 


Southwark Employment and Enterprise Development Scheme (SEEDS2) helps local small and medium enterprises provide a young Southwark resident with a new job opportunity. Contracts last for 12 months and employers will receive a subsidy to help pay London Living Wage. At the end of the year, SMEs will be supported to either take on their fully trained employee or to help them find further employment with their new skills.

Old Vic Endowment Trust

Southwark was the first London Organisation to commit to donating funds to the Old Vic Endowment Trust. The donation of £500,000 will enable Southwark Schools to teach young Southwark students about the arts and careers within a theatre. Southwark schools will be able to take part in the Old Vic’s Stage Business Programme which will fund for students from 5 secondary schools to work on a range of projects offering the young people the opportunity to explore the business side of the theatre industry. Students will learn practical, transferable skills in presentation, communication and leadership and have access to an online programme of learning. 

Careers fair

Our Education and Business Alliance hold an annual careers fair for Southwark students, funded through the Youth Fund. The careers fair allows students to learn about different job roles and employment sectors through the use of interactive workshops. This helps bring the different jobs to life and broaden the aspirations and understanding of local students.

Mind Your Own Business

The Mind Your Own Business Project has helped Young Southwark Residents to start their own business with a grant of £5,000 and unique monitoring support from business partners. The businesses set up so far include fashion design, fabric manufacturing and car mechanics. The initiative was nominated for the Children & Young People Now Awards 2013 and won the Southwark Council Fairer Future Excellence Award. Its success for innovation and creativity is widely acknowledged in the business world.

Work experience for those with special educational needs

Working in partnership with the Southwark Education and Business Alliance, we supported 100 students with special educational needs. Students from Highshore, SILS4 and Newlands Academy received at least two weeks work experience. The work experience programmes were individually tailored to ensure students were provided with supported placements in which they could maximise the benefits of their experiences.

Apprenticeship road show

The apprenticeship road show will include attending school assemblies introducing apprenticeships and providing one to one support for young people interested in an apprenticeship. This will help to engage young people interested in apprenticeships and enable them to receive the appropriate support.

Introduction to Russell Group universities

At this event, local students are given the opportunity to talk to representatives from Russell Group universities to find out what it's like to study at university. This event aims to inspire students to attend university.

Pre apprenticeship project

This programme will provide young people with practical support for apprentices in conjunction with adult learning, organisational development and contractors.

Part time employment project

This project supports 16 to 25 year olds who are looking for employment while unable to work full time. It provides specialist employment support and job brokerage enabling them to take up suitable part-time work opportunities, whilst they continue with their education, training or caring responsibilities.

Getting Ready for Work

The Getting Ready for Work project delivers long term adviser led support to 19 to 25 year olds in order to prepare them for sustainable jobs that match their interests and aspirations. The project aims to work with young people to recognise and remove the barriers stopping them from gaining meaningful employment.

Page last updated: 20 November 2017