International Youth Day

Thursday 12th August marks International Youth Day, a day for recognising the value young people bring to society as well as the challenges they face.

Arts and culture
  • 10 August 2021

At Elephant Park, some of our businesses have partnered with the Government’s Kickstart scheme and BeOnsite, providing opportunities for young people in the local community.

Kickstart partners with businesses large and small to provide opportunities for 16 – 24 year olds who are seeking employment. Upon the launch of the scheme, Elephant Park’s own Ecuadorian restaurant Mikos was one of the first businesses to sign up. Whilst Kickstart pays the base salary for each six-month placement, the business then tops up the salary to meet the National Living Wage.

In March this year, Mikos welcomed three new employees to the team, one in the role of Kitchen Assistant and two to the front of house team. One of these team members is KD, who is originally from West Africa and fluent in French. KD has been attending an English for Speakers of Other Languages course since 2020 and is close to completing his Level 1 certification in Business and Finance, to build a successful career for himself.

In his 25 hours per week, KD has displayed a positive work ethic and a real commitment to learning, and the team at Mikos are impressed by his disciplined attitude to work and his punctuality. With 14 weeks in the job now behind him, KD remains enthusiastic about his role:

This is my first job ever and it is going well. I really like the work and I’m really pleased that Miko's are happy with me.”


Other businesses at Elephant Park have also joined the Kickstart programme to provide more opportunities for local young people, including Tasty Jerk and Sugo. For more information on the government scheme, visit

Eleanor Barnes, the Professional Pathways programme lead, says: "Working alongside Lendlease gives my students the opportunity to learn and practice skills that are valued by all employers, but there isn’t necessarily the space or time in lessons. I’ve seen my students’ confidence and professionalism blossom as a result of Lendlease’s support and engagement."

Construction is an area that all three students acknowledged as a vital for the future growth of London. With every session held, students became clearer about their next steps, being able to identify a role within the built environment as a first choice.

While sessions have had to move online in the wake of Coronavirus restrictions, Ark’s website Ark Online outlines the great work that has been done to ensure the development of Ark Academies’ students. For example, after a parent survey revealed that less than half of pupils already had a suitable device for home learning, the delivery of 12,000 e-learning devices to the 38 schools in the network was successfully put into action. Read more about it here.

Lendlease continues to support and fund the great work done by Ark and look forward to plans to deliver sessions again soon.