Posted: 5 February 2016

Best in class: celebrating half a decade of City Year UK

National Grid, City Year UK, STEM subjects, young people, skills, School Power

The charity has been supporting disadvantaged pupils to achieve their best for the last five years.


Give a year, change the world. That’s the stirring slogan of youth and education charity City Year UK, which has been successfully changing the lives of schoolchildren from the nation’s poorest communities for the past five years. National Grid has been proudly standing alongside this good cause every step of the way.

In fact, through five years of partnership, National Grid has touched the lives of as many as 23,000 children in London alone, helping unlock their latent potential and inspiring a new-found passion for the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects that underpin everything engineers do.

The charity’s aim is to support disadvantaged pupils to achieve their best. It does so by recruiting 18-25-year-old school leavers and graduates to spend a year working as role models, mentors and tutors in deprived inner-city schools.

Life-changing journey

Volunteers work with the children to help ignite their ambitions and broaden their horizons. The young volunteers, for their part, experience their own life-changing journey. By nurturing the next generation, they develop the professional and personal skills that make them more employable and lay the foundations for a life of social action.

National Grid’s partnership takes the form of sponsoring and mentoring City Year volunteers. One project these volunteers work on is School Power, an education programme that promotes STEM subjects and aims to inspire the next wave of engineering talent.

For the past five years National Grid has sponsored a City Year UK team at Whitmore Primary School in Hackney, London. The Hackney school was chosen as it’s located along the route of one of the business’s key infrastructure programmes – the London Power Tunnels (LPT) project – which will rewire the entire capital via deep underground tunnels and is due for completion in 2017.

Spirit of citizenship

Supporting the communities where it works is a huge focus for National Grid and the LPT project has enabled it to make a real difference to a huge number of youngsters. This spirit of citizenship is all about connecting employees with the communities where they work. It encourages them to share their skills and build the sort of sustainable society where more and more people are willing to put something back.

Several National Grid employees mentor the City Year volunteers who help deliver School Power. Those who participate build important skills, such as leadership and empathy, which strengthens National Grid’s core business. At the same time, new passions are awakened in the pupils – and this can open the door to them living more rewarding, successful and fulfilling lives.

City Year UK’s ambitions for the next five years are to have at least 500 young people serving 45,000 children a year in five cities. National Grid is proud to play a leading role in this life-changing programme.

Making a difference – what the mentors say

Aishat Omodayo:

“I feel lucky that I have been able to use my degree and passion for maths to help students: a particular highlight has been witnessing my year 11 focus child progress from a C grade to a B grade – and hopefully an A grade in maths.”

Kingsley Boateng:

“Supporting some of the children on my focus list and seeing the changes in their aspirations, results and behaviour has been particularly rewarding.”

Fiza Sheikh:

“City Year is allowing me to make a real difference to children’s education while giving me valuable experience for my future career, hopefully as a teacher: a good one that is able to impact every child in the class for the better.”

Gas innovation in full flow
45,000 – the number of children City Year is hoping to support every year in five cities over the next half a decade.

National Grid.