Official charity partner

We'd like to thank our charity partner, Step Forward, for another year at IFSEC International

The charity exists to build connections between employers and the best apprentices in the UK.

As a registered youth charity, with an outstanding reputation with 98% of schools across London, they provide employers with a simple, cost-effective way of recruiting diverse young staff for entry-level roles.

During IFSEC International 2016 representatives of Step Forward were onsite for the three days of the show, and they spoke to exhibitors about the advantages of taking on a young novice. Many exhibitors were immediately keen to take up the opportunity to work together and several 12 months apprenticeships have already been set up. 

Step Forward Group Shot

"Step Forward and CSL have given me valuable experience of what it's like working within industry. I have had the amazing opportunity to meet new people and gain advice and options for my future. They've given me reassurance and confidence in my future career path and allowed me to explore and learn all things IT. I would recommend Step Forward to every 17 year old regardless if you’re planning to go to university, to take a gap year or if you're unsure what your next step is, Step Forward is the way forward." 

Divya, CSL DualCom’s IT apprentice

“We took on an apprentice through Step Forward in September last year and to date our experience has been nothing short of amazing. Yusuf our apprentice integrated seamlessly into the team and so far has exceeded all expectations. It’s rewarding to know we are contributing to Yusuf’s professional development but this is far from a one way relationship and we regularly benefit from Yusuf’s new ideas and skills. Having an apprentice has not only been an eye opener but also a great success and one I would strongly recommend to anyone”

Ross McMurray – ISAM Team Leader, Axis Communications

Step Forward Apprentice at Computer

About Step Forward

Step Forward is a fast-growing year-long school leavers programme designed and run by The Challenge.

The Challenge was founded in 2009. It has grown steadily to become the UK's leading charity for building a more connected society. Employing over 400 full-time staff and working with 30,000 young people a year, The Challenge works on a local level to build connections between people from all walks of life. Step Forward is one of three programmes run by The Challenge.

Step Forward - Programme overview

Apprenticeships are a hot topic for leaders in business, the 3rd sector and politics. Even in the cultural melting pot of London, many organisations struggle to realise their diversity ambitions. We find that most HR strategies include “apprentices” and “inclusiveness” but, in practice, it can be difficult for employers to recruit suitable young people.

Whichever recruitment channels you use, we all know that poor hiring decisions can be frustrating, distracting and expensive. Step Forward offers an innovative solution.

Our solution

Step Forward is a high quality apprenticeship programme for 18 year old school leavers. As registered youth charity with an outstanding reputation with 98% of schools across London, we operate on trust rather than commission. We provide employers with a simple, cost-effective way of recruiting diverse young staff for entry-level roles.

Our professional day-release training develops skills for the modern workplace, and leads to further qualifications. We provide regular on-site mentoring for the apprentice - and practical support for you. From the thousands of applications we received this year, we have already selected hundreds of budding apprentices who will be available to start work in September.

Roles & industries

Step Forward apprentices perform a variety of entry-level tasks across a range of industries and sectors. We specialise in:

• IT, software, web and telecoms
• Social & digital media 
• Business & administration 
• Accounting 
• Working with children (under 5s)

Job descriptions are not pre-defined. We listen carefully to our clients’ HR needs and co-design suitable roles for eager 18 year olds.

Our talent pool

With strong links to 98% of secondary schools across London, our talent pool truly represents the diversity of the city. Over 250 young people are already signed up for 2015. Contact us now to discuss your needs, and we’ll hand-pick 3 great candidates for you to interview.


We make it simple and convenient for employers to recruit motivated, socially-mixed young staff. We take the effort out of screening, remove the hiring headaches and minimise the risks.

Specialised year-round training develops valuable skills that will benefit your organisation. Regular on-site mentoring and support helps apprentices and employers alike. Step Forward offers incredible value for money. It makes good business sense, and demonstrates real corporate social responsibility in your local community.