About

Working Options in Education helps young people (14-18) to aim high and fulfil their potential.

Our employability and life skills programme is delivered free in schools, colleges and online through our well-established links with employers, particularly in the food, drink and retail industry.

We offer young people multiple interactions with employers including expert insight from industry, skills workshops, online content, access to industry events, work experience and placements.

>> Check out some key facts about Working Options in Education and the impact our programme  makes on the lives of young people.

>> Find out how our programmes are helping sixth form colleges to deliver the Gatsby Benchmarks in their careers education.

 Vision

A society where all young people aim high and fulfil their full potential.

Mission

Working Options in Education’s mission is to engage, inspire and motivate young people to aim high and fulfil their potential.

Our story

Working Options in Education was launched in 2012 by Paul Monk following a visit with his niece Lauren to their old sixth form college in Luton. Both were working in the food, drink and retail industry and wanted to inspire students from their home town to think about their future careers.

Paul has worked in the grocery industry for over 40 years:

“I remember so vividly being 18, growing up in Luton with no idea of what was possible to achieve. I launched the Working Options programme to inspire sixth formers by giving them an insight into what might be available to them. To date we’ve reached over 10,000 young people, and continue to provide our services free to schools and colleges. We get great feedback from students and we’re proud that our schools and colleges ask us back year after year.”

Our team

Paul Monk

Paul Monk

Director / Founder

Paul has extensive experience at Board Level in a variety of grocery industry companies. He is really passionate about what the Working Options programme can offer young people who aren't sure what their next steps might be. Paul is well networked within the grocery industry and heads up our fund-raising activities.

Ken Edwards

Ken Edwards

Chief Executive

Ken has worked in the food, drink and retail industry for nearly 30 years in commercial roles to board level. Ken’s passionate about supporting students be the best they can be and helping Working Options in Education become the first port of call for students.

Lauren Monk

Lauren Monk

Head of Operations / Co-Founder

Lauren has a passion for education and inspiring young people to reach their full potential. After graduating with a law degree, Lauren spent some time working with the Walt Disney Company and BBC legal teams before joining Mars in a sales role. She is excited to expand the charity's reach to more sixth form colleges.

Debbie Armorgie

Debbie Armorgie

Programme Engagement Manager

After a career in radio sponsorship, Debbie has spent 10 years as a Researcher for a Consumer Goods Executive Search Consultancy. Her network and experience in CV writing, job seeking and recruitment advice has been of great help in developing the WorKing Options programme.

Julie Sneddon

Julie Sneddon

Adviser

Julie spent 20 years in senior executive roles with The Walt Disney Company. She has extensive experience in delivering results and managing complex businesses in fast paced and evolving markets across the UK, Europe and North America. Her breadth of knowledge spans the Retail, Consumer Goods, Media and Entertainment industries. Julie left school at 16 and is passionate about helping students succeed in their further education and career goals by sharing her personal journey, and giving ideas on how to succeed in today's workplace.

Governance

Working Options in Education is a registered charity with a Chair and board of trustees that manage the strategic direction of the charity.