Award students get masterclass
on how to pitch themselves

Award students get masterclass
on how to pitch themselves

Cranleigh School students taking The Ivy House Award had a special guest join their final session – none other than Ivy House Founder Elke Edwards – for some live coaching.

The session is an opportunity for students to put into practice everything they’ve learned about themselves over the course of the programme – what their strengths are, what they’re passionate about, what future they want to create – by pitching themselves to their peers and teachers.

The pitch is only 1 minute long, but gives them the chance to confidently speak about themselves, showcase what makes them stand out from the crowd and importantly, how to ask for guidance, support or input on something important to them.

How did it go?

We’ll let one of the students in the room tell you about the experience:

“Six of the eight Cranleigh House Captains attended The Ivy House Award live coaching, along with two of the Cranleigh Being chairs and both Senior Prefects. Ivy House has influenced talks on bystander culture, body image, rape culture and far beyond, and Ivy House has benefitted every individual who has engaged in the course and all of those around them. 

I was initially sceptical of an award that I was told might change my life, however a year on and after much self-reflection and personal development I will in fact confirm that The Ivy House Award has fallen in no way short. The final episode of The Award welcomed its very founder Elke Edwards into Cranleigh grounds for what can best be described as a masterclass on pitching oneself. We learned how to present ourselves and have conversations productively, producing opportunity and growth. I don’t doubt this will benefit us in years to come.”

Human development

We know that these human skills make a massive difference to how young people’s lives turn out, but it still hits home when we read incredible comments like that.

Elke Edwards makes a brilliant point about getting the balance of developing leadership and life skills alongside academic attainment in schools:

“Every time I speak to teachers and parents at a school, I get them to visualise a group of young people they know. Then I ask them to pick the person they would like to employ. The next question I ask is: why them? And you know, the sort of answers that always come back are ‘energy, engagement, quiet confidence, interested, good communicator, diligent, funny….’ Not once, in all the years of asking comes the answer ‘Straight A’s’ and yet that is what our young people still believe.”

That’s why we’re on a mission to put human development at the heart of education. We’ll leave you with the parting words from our Cranleigh student:

“To those in the year below myself considering this Award, I must implore you to have a go, open yourself up to change, explore your strengths and weaknesses, what’s the worst that can happen?”

NEW: Prizes announced
for Future Leaders

NEW: Prizes announced
for Future Leaders

It’s not just the winners of the Future Leaders of the Year competition who receive prizes – no one who participates will leave empty handed (although the top prizes are pretty impressive).

For all the Future Leaders

Young people having the courage to record a two-minute pitch video on why they are a leader and sending it to a panel of judges for review is a celebration of leadership in itself! That’s why everyone who enters is a Future Leader and will receive a certificate and digital badge that can be added to CVs and personal statements. It’s a great way to showcase the kind of skills that employers are looking for – not just top grades and exam results.

As part of the application process, they will also gain a free profile on Hello World to apply for other opportunities on the platform – such as internships and competitions – broadening their horizons and options for the future.

The Final 50

Our judging panel have the tough job of choosing just 50 ‘ones to watch’ from all the applicants, who will be invited to attend a virtual final. The final will be run as a day-long leadership development workshop, offering an incredible opportunity for the finalists to work with some of the most senior leadership and life coaches in the country, and have access to a powerful network of employers and entrepreneurs.

An additional certificate and digital badge will display their status as a ‘one to watch’, highlighting their leadership capabilities and experience gained by getting this far in the competition.

One of our headline partners, globalbridge, has developed a pioneering digital platform that connects young people with FE/HE, employers, universities and apprenticeship providers. They are offering each of the final 50 a profile that lasts a life-time, showcasing their skills, talents and achievements to people who can help them take their next step.

As if that isn’t enough, they’ll also be invited to join the Ivy House Alumni Platform giving them access to powerful network of coaches, young leaders from a range of organisations, and ongoing learning content to continue expanding their knowledge – building an incredible ecosystem to support them on their journey.

Top 10 winners

The 10 winners of ‘Future Leaders of the Year’ will be announced at the end of the virtual final on 19th January 2022. On top of everything they have gained throughout the process, the winners will gain access to an incredible package of ongoing investment, support and development.

Each will be rewarded with a £1k financial investment to support them on their path to an extraordinary future – whatever that might be. They will also gain virtual work experience that will run over the summer of 2022 and be matched with a 1:1 mentor to guide them and share their knowledge and experience.

We can’t wait to hear from all the bright, talented young leaders out there! Register your interest in The Future Leaders Project and we’ll let you know as soon as the competition launches in October.

Introducing The Future Leaders Project

Introducing The Future Leaders Project

The Future Leaders Project provides the missing link between education and adult life. It brings together a collaboration of changemakers from education and business to support students aged 15-18 to flourish – in work and life.

It’s an opportunity for students to hear directly from employers, connect with some of the biggest brands in the world and help them in answering some big questions.

How it works

The Future Leaders Project comprises 2 elements; a free resource portal, containing lesson plans, activities, events, interviews and advice from leaders from a whole range of fields; and a competition that provides an incredible opportunity for showcase their leadership capabilities; to hear directly from employers, connect with some of the biggest brands in the world and help them in answering some big questions. Questions like: 

  • What should I do as a career?  
  • What do employers really want? 
  • How do I stand out from the crowd? 
  • What should I do with my life? 
  • I want to work for myself, what are my options? 
  • What is leadership? 
  • Am I a leader? 
  • How do I become the leader of my life? 

Plus, we’ve designed it to meet all 8 Gatsby benchmarks and a host of Ofsted requirements.

Essential partners

We couldn’t have created the project without the support of our remarkable sponsor, the NatWest Group. Helen Cook, Chief Human Resources Officer, said “At NatWest Group, our Purpose is to Champion Potential. It is an active call to action, about breaking down barriers to ensure everyone, regardless of their circumstances, can achieve their full potential. That’s why we are incredibly proud and excited to be joining forces with Ivy House on The Future Leaders Project. No barriers should exist to hold young people back from the lives they want to lead – this project brings together both leadership and life skills, with practical support, to guide students at a critical time in their lives and support them to make the right decisions about their future.”

And the support just keeps coming. PiXL, Eton X, Hello World, globalbridge and VotesforSchools have brought their passion for resourcing the next generation of leaders to the project. We are so grateful to be partnered with these pioneers from across business and education to create a space for young people to be seen, heard and developed.

Incredible speakers

The career journey of a magic circle lawyer will be very different to a freelance film editor that sets up their own business straight out of college. Something we really wanted to offer young people in this project was the opportunity to hear from a diverse range of leaders – activists, creatives, entrepreneurs, changemakers, problem solvers, business leaders and more – to help them understand what their options are so that they can make conscious, informed decisions about their future.

Speakers from Google, Nike, Microsoft, Facebook, Netflix and Sky will share their knowledge alongside young influencers, teenage entrepreneurs and social change activists.

Elke Edwards, Founder of Ivy House, says “This is a truly exciting project. It brings together rea people, from all backgrounds, who have taken completely different paths – all of whom are passionate about supporting young people to make the right decisions for them. This is about inspiring the next generation, showing them that anything is possible and giving them the encouragement they need to step up and become the leaders of their lives.”

Want to get involved?

Ivy House wins Corporate Excellence Award

Ivy House wins Corporate Excellence Award

Ivy House has been named Leading Experts in Professional Development in the Corporate Excellence Awards 2021. Yes, that is the sound of a champagne cork popping…

Now in its 5th year, the Corporate Excellence Awards have been designed to recognise the companies, teams and individuals who have gone above and beyond to achieve excellence in their field, remain innovative and provide the most outstanding products and services to clients in a number of key industries across the business landscape.

The accolade is a brilliant addition to our collection, after being recognised as Top Leadership Development among training and coaching companies in the UK by Manage HR, alongside two awards for The Ivy House Award announced last year.

Kate Lander, Ivy House CEO, said “It made my day when an email landed in my inbox to tell me Ivy House had been recognised as experts in professional development. We have a value of remarkable quality so it makes us all feel very proud when we win an award, especially after all the hard work that went into making our programmes virtual last year.”

After making the switch to virtual from face-to-face, our NPS has maintained the incredibly high score of 95. The challenge we set ourselves was to make the virtual experience as good as in person, and the feedback we’ve received have been a cause for celebration alone.

“The delivery of the course was remarkable and so vibrant. All of the tools provided to help us become extraordinary were a revelation to me”, says a delegate from Ford on our Professional Apprenticeship Programme.

Another said “For the first time in a while, I have woken up in the morning and been energised to sit in front of my laptop”.

The Professional Apprenticeship is the latest incredible leadership and life skills development programme, complementing the flagship Master Programme and Life Leader. All of which focus on human development – bringing together more than 20 years’ experience working with over 40% of the FTSE 100.

By now we’re sure you’ll be itching to know more about our award-winning programmes!

Award students proactively look after their wellbeing

Award students proactively look after their wellbeing

In a world where wellbeing among 18-24 year olds has dropped by 15%1 since the onset of Covid-19, leadership and life skills development is having a positive impact on young people.

At the half way mark of The Ivy House Award, students share their feedback and experiences from their learning so far. The latest results show that they are learning to manage their thoughts, emotions and are proactively looking after their wellbeing.

A number of schools, whose students have fully-funded places on The Award through Fair Chance Funding, have just reached the mid-point milestone.

“I can create the life I want to live, I can take 100% ownership of my life. One of my main issues lies in my thinking – I am not in control of my thinking and I allow too many limiting thoughts grab a hold which results in negative behaviours. But I am not my thinking… I can step out of my thought spirals at any time”, says one student.

Life is made up of a series of events. The brilliant thing about being human is that we can choose our behaviour in response to any event that happens. When young people know this, really get it, they can choose the result they get at the end. If they think ‘this is a disaster, it’s the end of the world’, they’ll feel anxious and frustrated. But if they think ‘this is new and different, I’ll have to learn and adapt and look after myself’, the behaviour they choose will be very different.

Another student has been putting this into practice:

“Since this Award I have started trying to be more open with my feelings and organising them to better myself and I now have a deeper understanding of how to gain control back when spiralling within my feelings.”

It is alarming to read that 74% of university students have suffered from problems with their mental health2. It can feel overwhelming to think of how we as a society can tackle this. The reality is, when we start supporting students to understand themselves – knowing who they are, what they want and how to celebrate their unique character – they can learn not be scared of their thoughts and feelings, and proactively take care of their wellbeing.

“I now make sure that I am always doing what’s best for my own mental health rather than trying to please other people”, says another student. “Also considering how my actions affect others and how I can make sure I understand that not everyone communicates and behaves in the same way as me. Look for my inner rhino and make sure that I maintain this as much as possible in order to get the best out of my life.”

If you’re bewildered at a student referring to their ‘inner rhino’, it’s something we talk about a lot at Ivy House – this article will help make it all clear!

So there you have it. It lifts our hears to know that we’re contributing to the effort of improving the lives of young people, now and in the future, by putting human development at the heart of education.

Don’t want to stand by? Find out how you can get involved.



Fair Chance Fund
finds 15 schools

Fair Chance Fund
finds 15 schools

It has been quite a week at Ivy House thanks to the brilliant NatWest Group. Via The Fair Chance Fund, NatWest have given 15 schools the opportunity for pupils to take part in The Ivy House Award and teachers to gain places on the award-winning Life Leader programme. All places are fully funded by NatWest.

This means the world to us and is completely aligned to our mission to put human development at the heart of education – giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to thrive – both in work and life. For us this means proactively enabling social mobility and embracing diversity, so that that your background will no longer be the key determinant of your success. Change that creates a collaborative, resilient, purpose-led generation; young people who create lives they love and make a meaningful contribution to our communities, organisations and society.

The Fair Chance Fund has been set up to achieve that mission, making the game-changing leadership and life skills learned in The Ivy House Award available to all students, irrespective of their background or the school they go to.

The NatWest Group have partnered with us to fully fund 1,000 places on The Ivy House Award over two years, as well as supporting teachers from each school with their  personal and professional development through our Life Leader programme. The response we had from schools was incredible, and although we would have loved to give funding to each and every deserving school who applied, we had the very hard job, in the first instance, of selecting only 10.

To give you an idea of just how hard the decision was, here are some of the things we read in the applications:

“We are made up of a diverse cohort very much serving our local communities and our key value is to leave no student behind and provide them with an entirely inclusive education with a clear focus on personal development opportunities. This would make a huge impact on our communities allowing some of our most disadvantaged students the ability to develop key transferable skills for their post-18 routes.”

“A significant number of our young people come from a disadvantaged background including a high number of Looked After children. We profoundly believe that the circumstances of a young person’s life should not determine their access to opportunity or be detrimental to their life chances. We believe in equality and we think that this project could boost self-esteem, aspiration, self-believe and leadership in an identified group, providing them with additional support to help overcome their social, economic or personal barriers.”

“Participating in The Award would help our students to stand out when applying for university, apprenticeships and jobs in the future, but more importantly it would help them to become more rounded, reflective individuals, which will ultimately help them to live more fulfilling lives. Many of our students could never dream of participating in a programme alongside students from Eton and Charterhouse and this will hopefully help them to have the confidence to see they can achieve the same things as anyone else can.”

So, you can understand why the NatWest Group and Ivy House teams felt the need to bend the rules a little and selected 15 schools to take part – so that we could reach as many students as possible with this amazing opportunity.

We’re absolutely thrilled to welcome the following schools to the Ivy House family from January 2021:

  • Rothesay Academy, Isle of Bute
  • St Stephen’s School
  • Craigie High School
  • Girvan Academy
  • Dromore High School
  • North Chadderton Sixth Form College
  • Northallerton School and Sixth Form College
  • Richmond School and Sixth Form College
  • The Bishop of Winchester Academy
  • Wardle Academy
  • Churchill Community College
  • Chesterfield High School
  • Barnwell School
  • Dagenham Park Church of England School
  • Emmanuel College, Gateshead

Helen Cook, Chief HR Officer of NatWest, said this of the opportunity: “NatWest is thrilled to be able to support students, no matter what their background, to take part in The Ivy House Award; a programme that will make a game-changing difference, not only to their careers but also their lives. At NatWest we are committed to supporting local communities to thrive in practical ways, like helping to develop critical future skills. Working with students and teachers in this way enables us to do just that.”

Please join us in congratulating the first schools to benefit from the Fair Chance Fund and thank NatWest for being the first partner to help us make our dream a reality.

If you’d like to know more and would value a conversation, just let us know.

Ivy House wins 2 awards!

Ivy House wins 2 awards!

Not 1, but 2 awards have come our way and we could not be happier!

In a roller coaster year of working remotely, transforming our way of delivering programmes and support students to navigate the unknown, receiving this recognition is the icing on the cake.

The Digital Education Awards recognise the best digital people, products and platforms driving quality education and lifelong learning.

The Ivy House Award won ‘Breakthrough Product of the Year‘ which makes us incredibly proud, because we’ve built a programme that is truly one-of-a-kind, bringing exec level leadership and life skills development to students – at a time when they need it most.

We’re already working with some incredible schools, and are on a mission to bring this game-changing learning to less-advantaged students through fully funded scholarships over the coming years. We’re passionate about making this learning available to any student that wants it, and were prepared to do everything we can to make that happen.

On top of that, The Award was also ‘Highly commended’ in the category ‘Online Skills Course of the Year‘, which made us do a little dance (sorry you missed it). Equipping people with the game-changing skills to become extraordinary leaders and lead extraordinary lives is at the core of everything we do, so to have been highly commended by the Digital Education Awards means so much to us.

But wait – there’s more!

The work we do in the corporate world has also received an award for Top Leadership Development, with Ivy House recognised among training and coaching companies in the UK by Manage HR.

We are very proud of our face-to-face NPS score which is 95. Our first virtual NPS was exactly the same – 95 – and in fact one of the latest virtual programmes we delivered received a score of 100!

We’re extremely grateful to all our partners, clients, friends and fellow pioneers for the incredible support – quite frankly, we couldn’t have done it without you.

For anyone who is not familiar with what we do, feel free to download one of our brochures to get more of an insight into our award-winning (that’s right!) programmes.

Elke Edwards becomes Number 1 Best Selling Author

Elke Edwards becomes Number 1 Best Selling Author

It’s not every day you get to call the founder of your business a Number 1 Best Selling Author.

But that’s exactly the accolade given to Elke Edwards, whose first book Extraordinary: How to lead a bigger, braver, more extraordinary life was released on 16th September and immediately climbed to the number one spot on Amazon. Time for some socially-distanced celebrations!

If you can’t tell from the title, the book is about how to build a life that feels as good as it looks. Elke draws on decades of experience to share the 7 transformative skills that once mastered, make a game-changing difference – whether you’re 15 or 55.

Elke shares why she decided to write it: “Many years ago, I got divorced. It was a really tough time because I wasn’t leaving a horrible man or an awful life.

My ex-husband was (is) a good man, we had 2 wonderful children, a successful business and a beautiful home. But somewhere deep inside I knew I wasn’t living my right life.

I just knew it was possible to feel more alive, more engaged, more connected and even more challenged. From somewhere deep inside I was getting a message – “go and do it – create your life – find it – make it happen – it will be fine- it will be amazing – you can do it”. 

So I did. It was tough. Sometimes really tough but it was also the greatest learning journey of my life.

‘Extraordinary’ is the book I wish I had back then. It’s the book I searched for and couldn’t find. It’s the book that shows you how to put your extraordinary life together – not the one laid out for you but the one you were born to live.”

And just a quick peek at the Amazon reviews shows that Extraordinary is already impacting people’s lives.

“Wow, what a book! This book will change your life… whatever you want to achieve or change in your life this book is your key to making it happen! The best thing is once you have it you can go back to whenever you need a bit of direction or help getting clarity to help you achieve an extraordinary life!”

“This book has made such a difference to how I lead my life. It’s packed full of useful learning and stories that have challenged my perspectives, calmed my mind and helped me to understand what is truly important.”

We’re incredibly proud of Elke and it has spurred us all on at Ivy House with our collective mission to change the world – bringing life-changing leadership and life skills at the heart of how we develop every new generation.

Find out more about the book and download your free chapter today.

NEW: Game-changing programmes

NEW: Game-changing programmes

Leadership development that’s award-winning, available virtually and (here’s the good bit!)… affordable!

Thanks to our new programmes, you and your people can develop the critical leadership and life skills your organisation needs in a cost-effective way (from as little as £550 per head!).

Looking for a bespoke solution designed to meet your specific needs? We’ll work with you to build your own programme that maps to your learning outcomes, agreeing a budget and timeline that works for you.

Want something you can get started with straight away? Our 100% virtual Life Leader Programme brings game-changing leadership and life skills development to every part of your organisation in an affordable way. Plus, our flagship Master Programme is now available as a virtual or blended solution that brings the very best in personal and professional development for your talent.

Or a programme that can be funded through the apprenticeship levy?  The Professional Apprenticeship Programme offers a fast-track leadership development opportunity for the future leaders of your business, supporting your early-in-career talent through to senior managers.

To meet this challenge and support these pioneers, we’re working on a suite of brand new, blended, virtual and face-to-face programmes for your emerging talent, graduates and apprentices. Each one can be tailored to respond to the unique needs of your organisation.

Get the lowdown on all our solutions.

Virtually ready

Virtually ready

When life gives you lemons, get on and do the stuff you were going to do any way, but quicker.

Not the catchiest or coherent proverb but it’s certainly our thinking at Ivy House right now when it comes to delivering our programmes virtually.

We’re not talking about online learning where you simply work through a set of materials and finish with a certificate to add to your portfolio. We’re talking about a virtual way of delivering the game-changing life and leadership skills development, executive-level coaching and personalised training, guidance and ongoing support that Ivy House is known for.

And we’ve done it bloody quickly. All our existing programmes are now available as virtual solutions, either in part or in full, so that organisations can give their emerging talent the critical skills needed right now to get through this extraordinary time. It’s something that we’ve been looking at behind the scenes but in true disruptive style, we’ve been given the starting pistol to accelerate our progress.

The truth is, as every individual, organisation and education provider will be pioneers of a completely different world in the months and years to come. We will all have to continue to adapt, adjust and be brave enough to leave behind the old ways of thinking and doing. More than ever we’re going to need incredible leaders.

To meet this challenge and support these pioneers, we’re working on a suite of brand new, blended, virtual and face-to-face programmes for your emerging talent, graduates and apprentices. Each one can be tailored to respond to the unique needs of your organisation.

Although we’re virtually ready (pun intended) we’d love a conversation with forward-thinking HR, Talent and L&D leaders to share ideas.