On Your Marks, Get Set, Go!

Young People from KKR-funded Dame Kelly Holmes Trust Get on Track programme join KKR team on their London office rooftop to share and celebrate their successes, and visit iconic Warner Brothers Studios to learn about employment opportunities.

On May 26th, global investment firm KKR’s London office hosted a group of young people from West London College on the rooftop terrace to mark the ‘Go’* stage of their participation in Dame Kelly Holmes Trust’s Get on Track for Employability programme. Following a barbeque and some seriously competitive rounds of table tennis, giant Jenga and giant Connect 4, the young people spent time presenting their programme successes to the group, including employees from KKR and the Trust, as well as the charity’s board of trustees.

With confidence and skills for employment featuring high on the programme’s agenda, the young people showed the impact the programme, and their athlete mentors, have had on them: they spoke about the lack of self-belief and direction they had felt at the beginning of the course, comparing it with the confidence they now felt to stand up and present in front of this group, and their better understanding of requirements for work.

Diana, one of the West London College students said: ‘It’s challenged me to come out of my shell and helped me with my skills to become more employable.’

Alexandre, another participant said: ‘I’ve learnt a lot of new skills such as the importance of teamwork and communication. I’ve also learnt how to manage and invest my money. I’ve become a more confident person – this programme has helped me to prepare for the outside world and it’s shown me how to present myself in a suitable way.’

Today’s young people are living in a ‘perfect storm’; leaving education into a post pandemic economy that has not yet recovered and is heavily reliant on short term solutions means young people who are already vulnerable and excluded from many opportunities fall further through the gaps in society leading to poor long-term employment prospects, detrimental health and feeling disconnected from their community. 

The programme, one of two funded by KKR in West London this year, focuses specifically on inactive young people (aged 16-25), facing disadvantage and multiple barriers to employment. The project primarily uses personal, social and emotional development practices to increase the participants’ confidence, self-esteem and resilience. Through the programme’s mentoring and activities, young people develop the six vital capabilities to be work ready, as identified by Impetus PEF in their publication, ‘Ready for Work, the capabilities young people need to find and keep work – and the programmes proven to help develop these’.  The event gave the group an opportunity to experience a working environment and consider roles that they felt would interest them in the future.

As an additional insight into the world of work, last week the programme saw the group visiting Warner Brothers Studio Tour in West London. The young people used this opportunity to understand more about what is involved in creating a movie and the many options for working within the film industry, and enjoyed a tour of the Harry Potter film set at the studios.


Dame Kelly Holmes Trust is a youth development charity which delivers transformational programmes to young people facing challenges or disadvantage in their everyday lives. The Trust works with existing and former world class athletes, training them to use their unique skills and experience from the world of elite sport to act as mentors and role models for young people. These programmes were delivered by Athlete Mentors Hannah Beharry, former England and GB boxer, and Gabriella Marshall, current England netballer.         

KKR has funded two programmes with the Trust, with a view to provide opportunities to local young people who would greatly benefit from the support of an athlete mentor. This programme, at West London College, working with NEET** young people facing extreme challenges - some arriving at college having not eaten for several days - to engage and stay within college, raise their aspirations around what is next and provide confidence in being able to stay resilient in the current climate. Shortly after lockdown, the Trust also worked with YMCA West London, engaging with 10 young people from hostels based in central London, who had temporary housing and a dedicated team at the YMCA.

West London College’s Miguel de Soza, who attended the event with the young people, said: ‘It shows that when you put young people at the centre of everything you do, like with Dame Kelly Holmes Trust programmes, that it makes a huge difference. I coach some of these young men in football too, and I’ve seen them change not just as students, not just as athletes, but as people. And you’re a person a lot longer than you’re a student or an athlete. They’ve learnt skills for life.’

The support the Trust receives from partners is vital for the continued delivery of programmes for young people. KKR has helped the Trust engage over 40 young people in West London this year in transformational programmes, setting them up with the confidence, resilience and self-esteem they need to succeed in education, work and life.

* The programme is broken down into stages:

  • On Your Marks - learning activities to improve the communication, teamwork and resilience and forming a bond between the group and the athlete mentors.
  • Get Set - improving the soft skills and employability prospects of the young people using a mixture of guided learning and social action.
  • Go – an event planned and delivered by the group to celebrate their journey and highlight the achievements throughout the programme.

** NEET = Not in Education, Employment or Training