We asked young people: “If you could use three words to describe the world you work within, what would those words be?”
“From the work we’ve done and from the young people we work with, they would describe their local area as inaccessible, different, and ‘not for me’.”
For London’s Knightsbridge, with its uniquely British heritage and reputation as a community of high-net-worth individuals, this could scarcely be more relevant. One organisation is on a mission to change this; to integrate young people into their communities and increase their cultural capital, regardless of background or academic status. It made them the ideal fit when we came to consider our Social Impact Partner for 2023.
2-3 Degrees helps young people develop the practical life skills we all wish we had learned when we were younger, such as confidence-building, overcoming the fear of failure, maximising opportunities, and public speaking. We spoke with CEO and co-founder of 2-3 Degrees, Carl Konadu.
“2-3 Degrees was born out of the understanding that there are young people leaving the education system with the capacity to memorise Shakespeare and Pythagoras’ theorem without the confidence, self-esteem, and communication skills to engage in professional environments, or the knowledge of their own strengths and weaknesses.”
“Co-founder, Azzees Minnott, and I started 2-3 Degrees about seven years ago, knowing the whole UK education system is in a similar place for a lot of young people today.
“Through investing in ourselves, getting mentorship and support, we were then able to build fruitful careers, but we know that isn’t the case for lots of young people out there. One in six young people is at risk of social exclusion, reduced wellbeing, and reduced prospects; and after the pandemic, 60% of young people said their confidence is lacking. So, 2-3 Degrees was essentially born to tackle this problem, adding value to the local labour market, to their local community, and to themselves.”
As part of this work, 2-3 Degrees delivers personal development training, workshops, activity-based learning and programmes to help young people develop their confidence, self-esteem and communication skills.
“Two to three degrees is a very small angle. The name is born out of the understanding that many things young people need for their development are just small changes over time. We live in a culture where YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok are trying to encourage young people to become successful overnight, but we want to create an organisation which helps young people understand that small and consistent changes will help create change. 2-3 Degrees is born out of that ethos.”
In 2019/20, one in four children was living in poverty in Kensington and Chelsea, with the borough hosting the highest permanent exclusion rate in London, and in neighbouring Westminster, 25% of children in the borough lived in households with an income of less than 60% the UK median after housing costs have been subtracted in 2020/21.
“There is a huge divide in Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea. Although there is a lot of trade that happens in these boroughs, if you look at some of the council estates and some of the places where the young people we work with come from, many are on free school meals. Those are the young people we’re engaging with. We’re trying to close the gap between key employers who have access to support and resources to better future chances and those who need it most.”
2-3 Degrees have worked with a range of stakeholders in Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea, including engaging with local authorities such as the Westminster City Council through their programmes and workshops. 2-3 Degrees have worked with Grosvenor, Landsec, TikTok, The Economist, The Mayor of London, Coca-Cola, Google and many more employers that are passionate about empowering young people. Now the company is looking for growth, to build upon the foundations of the past few years and expand its offering.
“In the next few years, we’re looking to partner and fund the programmes for ‘Mastering My Future’ and our Employability programmes across London boroughs. We’re looking for employers wanting to make a difference as part of their ESG and their CSR goals, partnering with an organisation that is impacting and changing the lives of young people in the areas that they serve.
“This could be up to five employers that can support us on a multi-year project starting from £25,000 a year for three years, giving us the capacity to engage with up to 500 young people in their borough and help change the narrative for those young people.
As part of this, they will have an opportunity to access personal development opportunities for their staff members working with our young people, mentoring training for their staff, and comms and PR support. We have young people from diverse, under-served, and low socio-economic backgrounds. We’re keen to give employers access to that talent pool that they wouldn’t usually have access to.
“In the long term, our goal is to ensure the sectors that currently have very low numbers of staff from under-represented and low socio-economic backgrounds, can change. We can see that in sectors like technology, STEM subjects, and property. We’re looking for employers to get on board with us and start to make that change.”
2-3 Degrees have worked with the likes of Grosvenor, Landsec, TikTok, The Economist, The Mayor of London, Coca Cola, Google and many more employers and stakeholder passionate about empowering young people.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the work of 2-3 Degrees, you can book in a 1:1 meeting with the team or come and visit one of our workshops by getting in touch with me, firstname.lastname@example.org