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Unique Youth Social Action programme extended following huge success

18 September 2023

Youth Social Action programme extended

Students and colleges across the country are set to benefit from a unique programme of support which sees Youth Social Action (YSA) encouraged and developed.

The first phase of the #iWill Youth Social Action Apprenticeship programme, funded by the Pears Foundation and National Lottery, began in 2021 and saw five apprentices study for a Level 3 Youth Social Worker qualification and work with 20 colleges in England.

The apprentices raised awareness of social action, empowered students to bring about practical and positive differences to their communities, while developing their character, confidence, and employability skills.

As a result, 10,870 students directly engaged in youth social action, with 52,449 students learning from the project. The apprentices engaged with 424 local organisations, and 118 national partners, which meant that around 18,496 members of the community benefited from the programme.

Following its incredible success, the second phase, also funded by the Pears Foundation, will see three former apprentices become YSA mentors to three new apprentices who will split their time between three colleges within their region.

This year, 25 colleges have been named as ambassadors to oversee small groups of students lead on a social action project focusing on a cause relevant to them and their local community.

The programme will also continue to establish sustainable models for embedding YSA within colleges, engage the local community and contribute towards its improvement, develop lasting partnerships with local organisations, and raise the positive profile of colleges through social action in the local community.

Dean Hardman, director of sport and student experience, said: “We are delighted that the Youth Social Action programme has been extended for another phase. The first phase was hugely successful, and we are so proud of what the apprentices – Olivia, Kathryn, Florence, Aldrich, and Nathan – achieved, and know they will be brilliant mentors to our new apprentices this year. We are looking forward to supporting the new apprentices and ambassador colleges to bring about positive and long-lasting change for their communities.”

Applications for our Youth Social Action Ambassador Programme 23/24 are now open. To apply, please click here.

Notes to Editors

Pears Foundation is an independent family foundation rooted in Jewish values. Pears Foundation invests around £25million each year in a wide range of charitable organisations and causes, remaining closely involved with their partners to support and guide them in the pursuit of their goals. For more information see our website or contact Bridget Kohner,

Association of Colleges is the national voice for further education, sixth form, tertiary and specialist colleges in England. We are a not-for-profit membership organisation established in 1996 by colleges, for colleges. Our members make up almost 95% of the sector - transforming 2.2 million lives each year. For more information, or to arrange to speak to a spokesperson, please contact Kate Parker, Press & PR Manager, Association of Colleges,