Blenheim Chalcot launches FastFutures, alongside Avado and Hive Learning

Jul 2020

FastFutures is a unique programme designed to provide participants with the skills employers value now and in the future, futureproofing careers and limiting a potentially damaging skills gap for this generation of education leavers. We are using the Blenheim Chalcot ecosystem to deliver this programme: with Avado as the main delivery partner, and Hive Learning to support on the peer-to-peer social learning aspect. Modulr, Salary Finance and Agilisys are also on board as employer partners.

FastFutures is a 3-month programme designed to prepare young people from across the UK for an increasingly digital workplace, and to bridge the transition from education to employment in an already challenging environment disrupted further by the pandemic. It is aimed at ambitious young people aged 18-24 across the UK, reaching all backgrounds to ensure the most diverse and inclusive cohorts.

The programme is supported by a group of founding employers – from some of the biggest and most innovative employers in the world, alongside start-ups and scaleups, such as: AstraZeneca, Agilisys,, Barclays, Blenheim Chalcot, BT, Legal & General, Modulr, Health Education England and its partner NHS bodies, Octopus Group, Salary Finance, Standard Chartered and Tate & Lyle. The programme is fully funded by these employers who are coming together to support the national effort to turbocharge the country’s Covid-19 economic and productivity recovery.

We have designed this programme to empower young people with the business, technology, data, finance and personal life skills that UK employers need to create opportunities for this generation. The employers will also provide mentor support across the programme and have guaranteed job interviews with employment opportunities for those that are successful through their assessment processes. By committing the financial resources, our founder employers can also ensure that this programme is free for all participants, enabling any individual to apply regardless of circumstance and background.

COVID-19 has resulted in limited available internships and work placements which traditionally provide the vital experiences and business skills that help to secure full-time employment. For the first and most important 6 months of their working lives, this generation is facing an employment wasteland.

The UK has never seen a greater demand for digital skills, which range from data analytics to digital marketing. FastFutures will help to solve this critical shortage, preparing individuals as companies accelerate to a digital workplace. There is a grave risk that the COVID-19 impact will inflict a double blow on our workforce: a wasted generation and a crippling shortage of the digital and technology skills that the UK vitally needs to kick-start its economic recovery.


“FastFutures is the kind of programme that the UK, its young people and its organisations need right now. We have focused on digital, business and personal skills that employers most demand. We have also built an operational model that can scale, as more employers join. The programme has the potential to accelerate existing government initiatives.”

Manoj Badale, Co-Founder of Blenheim Chalcot


The programme is fully scalable and aims to provide tens of thousands of free places annually. The inaugural 12-week programme is being launched with 1,000 free places funded by the founding employers. Additional cohorts of a similar sizes are expected in the months ahead as more business partners join the programme, and details are finalised as to how the programme will work with the 38 LEPs (Local Enterprise Partnerships) across the country.

Diversity and inclusion are fundamental to FastFutures. The programme will use a carefully tailored, and fully inclusive recruitment process to appeal to and prioritise underrepresented groups to deliver a diverse cohort of participants. To encourage diversity across the participant pool, recruitment will focus on cognitive ability over verbal and numerical reasoning, to assess an individual’s potential. FastFutures is partnering with outreach networks to encourage under-represented groups to apply from a diverse range of ethnic, socio-economic, geographical and gender identities. This transformative approach is critical to helping to address inequalities across the workforce and promoting social mobility.

FastFutures is in discussions with various Government departments to determine how the programme can most effectively accelerate take up of existing Government schemes.


“I’m delighted that the government have chosen to place training and skills at the heart of their plan for economic recovery. The private sector also has a huge role to play. That’s why it’s great to see the launch of FastFutures – with some of the UK’s largest employers investing into young people from all walks of life, and equipping them with the skills they need to succeed in an increasingly digital workplace.”

Sajid Javid, MP for Bromsgrove and former Chancellor


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