An inspirational programme launched on Thursday 3rd November as a way of helping young people fulfil their potential and improve their life chances, with more than 100 school students from five local secondary schools in attendance

The Be the Change programme, developed by and social enterprise, humanutopia, aims to help 13 and 14 year-olds bridge the gap between education and employment – sometimes a very tricky leap for young people across the country. Mentors from the local business community played a pivotal role throughout the programme, providing guidance, support and advice for the young people. The schools involved in the programme include Ifield Community College, Hazelwick School, Holy Trinity Church of England Secondary School, St Wilfrid’s Catholic School and Thomas Bennett Community College.

At the launch, students and business volunteers took part in activities that focus on happiness, confidence, hope, relationships and employability, and activities were led by humanutopia’s founders, Carlo Missirian and Graham Moore, both of whom are former teachers who understand the challenges facing young people today.

Graham commented: “Our vision is for every young person to have raised hope and confidence, to have the chance to develop life skills and create positive cycles that will prepare them for life. Be the Change is a perfect vehicle to help young people develop the qualities and qualifications they need for a better future. The volunteers and the invaluable support and belief of local businesses adds a further dimension and depth to the engagement and journey the young people will experience.”

Carole Lawless, Assistant Head at Thomas Bennett Community College, also commented: “Be the Change was really challenging and inspiring for everyone. I would like to have had more of our students involved.”

The idea for Be the Change came from Gary Peters, Founder of (who also contributed to our Entrepreneurship Roundtable event earlier this year) and Carlo Missirian, Co-founder of humanutopia. Gary said: “Year 9 is when young people make decisions that will affect the rest of their lives – from where they fit within their peer groups, to what subjects they will study for their GCSEs. Our job is to help them recognise and build on their strengths and to give them the tools, knowledge and confidence to make the right decisions. We’ve seen outstanding outcomes from all Be the Change programmes run to date and we are looking forward to making a positive difference to the young people involved in the Crawley and Gatwick programme.”

The Crawley and Gatwick programme is a collaboration between and humanutopia, with support from other high-end organisations such as NatWest, Crawley Borough Council, The Careers & Enterprise Company, West Sussex County Council, Arora Hotel Gatwick/Crawley, Southern Water, Gatwick Airport, the Crawley Observer and other local businesses.