Building partnerships with purpose

Ahead Partnership was established in 2004 to tackle social disadvantage and
connect young people to opportunity. We work with employers to help young
people overcome barriers and achieve their full potential.

Meet the team


We're delighted that our programmes have been recognised through these awards.

What we do

Maximising social impact

We create long-term partnerships between employers, stakeholders and education and community partners to maximise social impact and further inclusive growth. 

  • 01. We partner with education providers to help young people achieve their aspirations, develop valuable employability skills and improve their careers knowledge
  • 02. We work across key sectors of the economy to strengthen the talent pipeline and improve diversity, inclusion and social mobility
  • 03. We support businesses to design and deliver successful ESG programmes and evidence their social value
  • 04. We bring together the public and private sectors to connect, collaborate and achieve meaningful results

Our Impact

  • 331,221

    Youth engagement
  • 1,343

    Education partners
  • 20,524

    Business volunteers
  • 4,222

    Employer organisations

Ahead Partnership is a purpose-driven business that reinvests surpluses into its programmes. We believe that it takes the combined resources of business, public and community partners to build a successful and resilient society where everyone, regardless of their background, can flourish.

Founded and headquartered in Leeds, but operating nationally, our Vision, Mission and Values define what we do and how we work.

Our design-led approach is flexible, creative and dynamic to allow the development of experimental programmes and partnership solutions to address specific societal needs. We are proud of all our work to date which has focused on working with business to tackle disadvantage, strengthen communities, grow enterprise and develop skills.

Our client portfolio is diverse and includes large national and international companies such as PwC, Arup, Landsec, John Lewis Partnership, First Group and Pinsent Masons through to public bodies such as Local Enterprise Partnerships and local authorities.

We are at the heart of a significant network of partners spanning the UK who share in our vision and are working with us to bring about positive change.

Working with Ahead Partnership gives us a chance to combat the skills gap by spreading awareness about the benefits of a career in tech and developing the employability skills of young people in our region through work experience. At Intercity, we have a defined ESG strategy focused on improving social mobility, diversity, and inclusion. Working with Ahead Partnership also allows us to tap into new audiences so we can offer equal opportunities to all.

Christina Pendleton, Group HR Lead at Intercity Technology


We are passionate about the role that employers can play in enabling young people to achieve their full potential, regardless of background.

  • 01. We drive positive change in communities
  • 02. We open minds to grow aspiration, confidence and optimism
  • 03. We use our creativity and expertise to bring the right partnerships together
  • 04. Our exciting activities and programmes overcome inequality and encourage diversity
  • 05. We put purpose before profit and reinvest in our programmes

Our Values

We are excited to build a team of committed and passionate individuals who live our values and culture:


We inspire change and embrace challenges in the way we develop and deliver our ideas. We learn from experience and foster an environment of innovation where new ideas are celebrated and encouraged.


We are passionate and positive about all our work. We take pride in what we do, responsibility for what we achieve and are always proactive in our approach.


We recognise individual strengths and support everyone we work with. We celebrate difference and show kindness in all situations.


We succeed as one team. We are collaborative and respectful to create a culture of trust, where sharing and learning is easy and people can thrive.


From small beginnings and big intentions


We took home the Future of Work award at the Digital Leaders Impact Awards and won the Gold Award in the socio-economic category at the International CSR Excellence Awards, showcasing the impact of our work on a national and international stage.


Our Growing Talent Digital Leeds programme, which brings together key employers within the city ‘s thriving tech scene, was awarded the prestigious Leeds Digital Festival Diversity & Inclusion Award.


We launched our Growing Talent programmes which provide collaborative platforms that allow businesses to act together the address skills issues and deliver greater social value.


The pandemic caused significant disruption to everyday life, education, ways of working, and wellbeing for everyone. Young people were amongst those hardest hit so we adapted our programmes to be delivered virtually and online so that even those in isolation at home could take part. We reached 63,857 young people through digital resources during this time.


We become a significant partner to the newly-formed Careers and Enterprise Company, delivering programmes to support young people across the Tees Valley, Yorkshire and the West Midlands.

We were delighted to be crowned ‘Best in Class’ at the national British Chamber Business Awards for our business and education partnerships.


We set up our first operations within the West Midlands in partnership with Birmingham City Council, Greater Birmingham Chamber and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership


Stephanie Burras, Founder & CEO of Ahead Partnership was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. This recognised her work through Ahead Partnership to support businesses in Yorkshire to come together and create opportunities for the region’s young people.


Leeds Ahead secured funding from Big Lottery Fund to expand its operations outside of Leeds. We took our first expansion steps into South and West Yorkshire and changed our name to Ahead Partnership.  


We played an instrumental part in establishing 10,000 Small Businesses (10KSB) in the UK for the Goldman Sachs Foundation. Since its launch in Yorkshire and the Humber in 2010, over 1,400 entrepreneurs have graduated from the programme. The 10KSB UK community sustains more than 40,000 jobs in the UK. 


Leeds Ahead helped Leeds City Council to secure £21m of Local Enterprise Growth Initiative funding to support the most disadvantaged areas of Leeds. Leeds Ahead grew its team to 10 to deliver elements of the programme.  


Leeds Ahead was founded by Stephanie Burras to deliver the Leeds Business Broker Project where businesses could play a pivotal role in supporting the regeneration of different areas of Leeds. Leeds Ahead was launched at the West Yorkshire Playhouse (now Leeds Playhouse).

Young people are at the heart of everything we do. Since 2004, we have been delivering programmes that support young people’s development of essential skills that set them up to thrive in whatever career they choose.

With thanks and support from our partners

Trinity Leeds
Aire Logic
AND Digital
Leeds City Council
Leeds Trinity University
Pinsent Masons
Trinity Leeds
Aire Logic
AND Digital
Leeds City Council
Leeds Trinity University
Pinsent Masons

Explore more

Bespoke Services

Find out how we support employers and young people


Learn more about our sector-specific programmes

Get in touch

Talk to us about your ESG goals and how we can assist in achieving them.
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Or call on
0300 124 0496