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Introduction from John Berry, Chair

Thank you for your interest in becoming Chief Executive of Brightside. We are a social enterprise that seeks to raise disadvantaged young people’s aspirations and awareness about education and career pathways and enhance their capability to achieve those aspirations. We believe that no-one should be stopped from achieving their potential, and that what counts towards your success should be how hard you work and the skills and talents you have, not background.

We create, develop and manage online mentoring projects, and other online tools and resources, to connect, inform and inspire more disadvantaged young people to achieve their full potential through education and careers. Our mentoring places human relationships at the heart of the provision of career and transition support for young people and we are recognised as the clear leader in online mentoring, working with over 100 different organisations and supporting over 45,000 young people since 2003. 

Our current partners range from higher education institutions including King’s College London, University of Birmingham and Canterbury Christ Church University; major private sector employers such as Allen and Overy and PwC; the NHS; and bodies such as the Royal Academy of Engineering. Examples of current projects include: Big Deal Blogs, working with the University of York –where around 160 fourteen to fifteen year olds working in teams over the course of ten weeks are set the task of developing a product and selling it to a live “Dragon’s Den” panel. Another example is the provision of e-mentoring software and the training of mentors for universities' widening participation work.

Most of our funding is through our contracts with partners, but we also have some Trust funding and are able to invest in future developments through an endowment.

Our current Chief Executive, Dr Tessa Stone, has been a leading light in the world of widening participation and social mobility, and is well connected within government and higher education. She has helped establish Brightside’s pre-eminence in the world of online mentoring and built our profile.

Her departure comes at a watershed moment for Brightside: our future strategy is in development but we are clear that we want to grow substantially to enable us to increase the number of disadvantaged young people we work with, and increasingly look at how we can support more young people into work as well as higher education. We want to develop more national projects with corporate or major public sector partners, for example tapping into the current focus on apprenticeships. And we want to look at developing more “second tier projects” with partners to help get young people into careers such as medicine or engineering, even when those individuals may not join the company we partner with.

We have a great team of young, enthusiastic and talented individuals, and a supportive board. I have a supportive but fairly hands-off approach and am looking for a Chief Executive who will enjoy working with substantial autonomy.

If you believe you have the skills, experience and passion to assist us in our next stage of our growth, enabling us to reach many more disadvantaged young people and have an even bigger impact on social mobility; then I would very much like to hear from you.

John Berry, Chair, Brightside