The Careers & Enterprise Company, an organisation aimed at boosting the employment opportunities of young people, has appointed Claudia Harris as Chief Executive Officer. Harris joins from McKinsey & Company, where she worked for more than eight years, and in her last role as a partner in the London, office co-led client work on talent and skills.
Claudia Harris started her career in 2003 with McKinsey & Company, the globe’s largest strategy consultancy, based in the firm’s London office. In 2005 she left the consulting industry to join the healthcare team of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, an organisation that busies itself with monitoring progress on and strengthening the British Government’s capacity to deliver its key priorities across education, health, crime and transport*. In 2008 Harris re-joined McKinsey, working across multiple sectors and functional areas, with a focus on organisational change and human resources, growing through the ranks to partner level.
Harris recently decided to embark on a new challenge, and joined The Careers & Enterprise Company, where she has been appointed Chief Executive Officer. The organisation, set up in February this year with £20 million of initial government funding, aims at unlocking the potential of young people (aged 12-18) by strengthening links between schools and colleges, employers and enterprise organisations. In the organisation’s view, too many young people are not sufficiently equipped to meet the skills required in the 21st century, and as a result an ever deeper relationship between the worlds of work and education is required.
To boost the matching process between labour supply and demand – according to a recent research from The Boston Consulting Group the mismatch in UK’s labour market risks billions in unrealised GDP – The Careers & Enterprise Company has developed a range of programmes for players across the education ecosystem, ranging from young people and schools / colleges to employers, parents and alumni. The organisation’s work centres around four areas: a nationwide programme, a £5 million investment fund, a digital passport for young people and research. Roll-out will commence in September, when the Careers & Enterprise Company will deploy an on-the-ground programme across the country to connect employees from firms of all sizes to schools through a network of business volunteers.
In a reaction on her appointment, Harris says she is delighted with her new role, adding: “There are many excellent examples of schools and employers working together today but the system overall does not yet work well enough and vacancies continue to co-exist with youth unemployment. Our role is to connect schools to employers across the country in particular in places where those connections are weak.”
Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education, comments, “Claudia Harris is an outstanding appointment as Chief Executive of the Careers and Enterprise Company. As someone with a proven track record at the highest level of business, she will make an invaluable contribution to the company.”
Harris will lead The Careers & Enterprise Company together with members of the board, which consists of Christine Hodgson (Chairman of Capgemini), Lord David Young (former Enterprise Advisor to the Prime Minister), Steve Holliday (CEO of National Grid), Brian Lightman (General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders) and Dame Julia Cleverdon (Vice-Patron of Teach First and Vice-President of Business in the Community). Christine Hodgson, who was named Chair of The Careers & Enterprise Company in December last year, comments, “Claudia’s experience working with employers and her understanding of talent and skills will be invaluable in helping us to connect employers and schools more effectively for the benefit of young people. There are still too many young people today who don’t have any connection with the world of work while they’re at school and we aim to change that.”
* The Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (PMDU) was established in June 2001, and abolished in 2010.