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Smart Futures

Get ready for the world of work

Smart Futures has helped me with one of the biggest barriers I have had in my life, I can finally walk into a room and feel like it doesn’t matter where I am from, I can do this.

What is Smart Futures?

Smart Futures is a 10-month programme which includes paid work experience, interactive employability skills training and mentoring for those in Year 12 or S5 in Scotland. The Smart Futures programme is formally recognised and accredited by the Institute of Leadership and Management, and will help you develop key skills that are essential in the workplace.


The Smart Futures programme is run across many different locations in the UK, including London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.



What does the Smart Futures programme involve?

On the Smart Futures programme, you will:

  • Get real experience of the working world and take part in paid work experience with one of our employer partners, during the school holidays. Take a look at some of the companies you could be working with here
  • Benefit from up to two weeks of employability skills training and interactive workshops, including team-building introductory sessions where you will meet other young people on the programme
  • Have a mentor who will support you throughout the programme and beyond, advising you on your first steps into professional working life or university
  • Be invited to a series of alumni events, throughout your final year at school or college
  • Learn about different industries, organisations and working environments
  • Gain a wide variety of transferable skills to give you a head start in your career
  • Have opportunities to practice your networking skills

Choosing the right programme for you

The Smart Futures programme is supported by EY and a range of other employer partners across the UK. We offer some industry-specific programmes which offer tailored work-experience opportunities and insight into particular industries and sectors, however it doesn't matter if you don't know exactly what career you would like to go into, all of our Smart Futures programmes will give you a great experience of the world of work and will teach you lots of transferrable skills. 


Some of the different Smart Futures programmes we offer are:


Smart Futures Professional Services*

An extended two-year programme for young people interested in a career in professional services. The programme offers paid work experience and employment skills training, alongside mentoring and ongoing support with application and recruitment processes to help you take your first steps into a career in accounting, consulting or other professional services.


Secure Futures*

This programme offers the opportunity to gain experience and an understanding of the variety of roles available in the security industry, keeping us safe online, in the workplace, at home and in public spaces.


Tech Futures*

The technology and digital sector continues to grow as the world is shaped by virtual experiences. This specialist programme, supported by international technology companies, allows for insight, work experience and mentorship from technology professionals at the cutting edge of the latest digital advancements.


Smart Futures CBI with the Chartered Banker Institute*

The Chartered Banker Institute is the largest professional body for bankers in the UK. This programme is ideal for those interested in banking, finance or accountancy, giving you the unrivalled chance to understand what a banking career will involve and the skills necessary to enter this demanding sector.


Met Futures*

Are you interested in finding out more about the wide range of corporate service roles and jobs provided by the Metropolitan Police? The Met Futures programme provides Year 12 students based in London with the opportunity to take part in a 3 week paid internship programme with the Metropolitan Police alongside 10 months of business mentoring.


*We are not recruiting for this programme at present; you can see the Smart Futures programmes that are currently on offer here.

Can I be part of the Smart Futures programme?

To apply, you must be:

  • Eligible for free school meals at any time in the last two years. You can see if you are eligible using this tool


  • Eligible for a college bursary or Education Maintenance Allowance (where household income is less than £24,421)


  • In Year 12 (England) or Fifth Year (Scotland) at the time the programme starts
  • Attending a state school
  • Studying any combination of A-level/International Baccalaureate/BTEC Level 3s/National 5/Highers
  • Ambitious and motivated to learn about the world of work
  • Looking for great paid work experience in the school holidays that will help you secure a job after school, or a place at university

How to apply

If you meet the eligibility criteria above and want to kickstart your career, we encourage you to start your application today.


of our young people said they were extremely or very confident that the support they received will help them get a job after education.*
of our young people rated the Smart Futures programme as Good or Excellent after taking part.*

* out of 284 respondents

Are you an employer?

If you are an employer or business owner interested in supporting our Smart Futures programmes, learn more about how you can help now.