The Work-wise Foundation Scoops Top Business Award

The Work-wise Foundation is celebrating after winning the prestigious Special Recognition Award at the 18th annual Sheffield Business Awards.

Two of the organisation’s three founders, John Barber and Janice Richardson, were presented with the accolade during a glittering ceremony held at Ponds Forge, Sheffield, in December, which was attended by more than 900 people from businesses throughout the Sheffield City Region. Shortlisted alongside four other organisations, the charity secured the award after judges recognised its significant contribution to supporting the development of children and young people, so they have the knowledge, skills, aptitude and opportunities for employment in STEM related careers.

John Barber, CEO of The work-wise Foundation, comments: “We are overjoyed to have secured this award. 2020 marks the tenth anniversary of our charity and we cannot think of a better way to kick-start the celebrations. We would like to thank the hundreds of local businesses, schools and individuals that have supported us throughout the past decade. Special thanks also to my colleagues and co-founders Jackie Freeborn and Janice Richardson, without whom The work-wise Foundation would not be where it is today.”

The Sheffield Business Awards, organised by the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, recognises the very best in business in the region and applauds those who have made a significant impact to the area’s economy and community.

The work-wise Foundation was founded in 2011 as an employer-led initiative for engineering, manufacturing and other related sectors. The organisation supports the development of young people, so they have the knowledge, skills, aptitude and opportunities for employment within the Sheffield City Region. Through The Foundation which became a registered charity in 2014, the private sector is practically and strategically taking the lead in helping to prepare young people for employment and careers. To achieve this, they helps employers to establish links with young people, develop strategies and programmes and delivers training and practical guidance to make it happen. The idea for The Work-wise Foundation came during the 2008 recession – John Barber, Janice Richardson and Jackie Freeborn got together with local employers and created a series of work-related programmes.

Now, annually the team delivers more than 10,000 work-related experiences for young people in the Sheffield City Region through a wide range of programmes. These include Get up to Speed with STEM, Summer Academy and the Better Learners, Better Workers Cutlers’ Engineering Ambassador Programme, to name just a few.

To find out more about the Sheffield Business Awards, visit

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If you would like to know how to support our work, become a work-wise employer or how your school, students or son/daughter can benefit from the programme then please contact:  [email protected]

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