Business Action on Homelessness, a Business in the Community initiative was launched in December 1998 by John Studzinski, an American banker and philanthropist, and Hilary Armstrong MP, then Minister for Local Government and Housing.
The initial focus of the campaign was to engage business through The Prince’s Seeing is Believing visits in order to dispel the myths of homelessness.
The visits proved inspirational and business leaders felt determined to take action. Business in the Community responded by piloting a new Ready for Work programme, which was designed to give homeless people valuable work experience to equip them for the world of work.
Fast forward 15 years and Ready for Work has now grown into a national employment programme, working with over 150 businesses across the UK to support some of society’s most disadvantaged people into work.
Read the timeline below and find out more about the Ready for Work journey.
1998 - 2001
1998 - HRH Prince Charles guides a group of senior business leaders on a Seeing is Believing visit to encourage business action on homelessness
1999 - Ready for Work programme pilot takes place. Four companies offer 10 placements.
2001 - Ready for Work programme launches in six cities. Founding placement provider, Marks & Spencer, pledge to offer 1000 placements over three years.
2003 - 2006
2003 - Leadership Team designs two-day pre placement training to provide extra support for clients before placement.
2004 - Marks & Spencer launch Marks & Start, modelled on the Ready for Work programme. Marks & Start involves Princes Trust, Gingerbread and Disabled & Go alongside BITC as the initial partner.
2005 - Post-placement job coaching is rolled out by Cadbury Trebor Bassett and KPMG after being piloted in 2004.
2006 - John Varley, Group Chief Executive of Barclays, is appointed Chair of the Leadership Team. Carillion and Royal Mail sign up as National Partners.
2007 - 2011
2007 - 1000th Ready for Work graduate gains employment.
2008 - National Partner, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP integrates its own work experience programme with Ready for Work in order to support more people.
2011 - 2000th Ready for Work graduate gains employment. Accenture become a National Partner.
2012 - 2015
2012 - Research shows that Ready for Work provides at least £3.12 in benefits to society for every £1 invested.
2013 - 5,000 placements completed by Ready for Work graduates.
2015 - Ready for Work is rolled out in Leeds & Bradford expanding the programme to 20 locations across the UK.
Since 1990, The Prince’s Seeing is Believing programme has been inspiring and changing lives for the better. Find out more about how the programme has been a catalyst for change or join the responsible leadership movement by attending a Seeing is Believing visit; an experience which will inspire, support and challenge you to re-imagine the potential of your business.