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Chief Executive Officer Drive Forward Foundation

Join Drive Forward Foundation as our next CEO and lead the next phase of our mission to enable care-experienced young people to achieve their full potential.

  • Location: Hybrid/London
  • Salary: c.£85,000
  • Closing date: By 9 a.m. Monday 12th August

Who we are

Drive Forward Foundation is a registered charity specialising in supporting care-experienced children and young people aged 16 – 26 in London into sustainable and fulfilling employment, education, and training.

We empower young people to take control of their lives through meaningful careers. We offer a mix of tailored 1-2-1 support, intensive employability skills training, exclusive opportunities provided by our employer partners, a bespoke counselling service, and in-work mentoring support.

Our plan for the next five years is to extend our reach across London, before looking outside the capital to support more care-experienced young people.

By the end of 2025, we aim to increase the number of engagements with our services to approximately 1200 annually across 32 Boroughs — achieving positive outcomes at a rate better than those currently achieved by existing providers, growing our organisation at the same rate to support.

We have developed robust strategies across all aspects of our work, from frontline delivery to effective communications – as well as a comprehensive business plan laying out our aims and objectives, and the tactics and resources needed to effectively implement our ambitions.

Who we are looking for

It is an incredibly exciting time for the charity, and we are now seeking a new Chief Executive to lead us into the next phase of growth and strategic development.

We need an exceptional leader; someone who is passionate about making a lasting impact, driving effective change, and empowering our teams to thrive.

Our next Chief Executive will be an outstanding people leader with a successful senior leadership track record in a relevant organisation of similar scale and complexity.

Having operated across a multi-functional environment with multi-disciplinary, dispersed teams, you will be well attuned to galvanising high-performing teams and developing and retaining positive, values-led cultures.

You will be a visible and credible ambassador for the charity, able to campaign and bring the voices of young care leavers to the minds of policymakers. You will represent the organisation with confidence and authenticity to a wide range of stakeholders; from our corporate partners and future funders through to the young people we support.

Whilst remaining sensitive to our successful legacy and mission, you will bring an appetite and vision for change, committed to reaching more young people; bringing a business focus, evolving our culture and taking us through a process of organisational development.

You will also be commercially astute with experience securing contract or grant income. Whilst not essential, experience in developing successful fundraising strategies would be highly advantageous.

Above all else, you will be motivated by our cause and genuinely live the values of the organisation — a collaborative and inclusive leader with an unrelenting focus on the needs of our young people.

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Clare Chesworth | clarec@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07904 158737

Lucy Mavers | lucy@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07947 935068

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Clare Chesworth

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Welcome from the Chair and CEO

Letter from the Chair


Dear applicant,

Thank you for expressing interest in applying to become the next CEO of Drive Forward Foundation. Our work could not be more important, working to help care-experienced young people throughout Greater London to move forward in their adult lives, using our help to gain secure employment.

As CEO, you will lead the fulfilment of our current strategy to benefit 1200 young people annually by 2026.

You will also support the work of our Care-experienced Policy Forum, in which our young people take the lead in developing and promoting practical policy recommendations designed to make this country do better by effectively meeting the needs of children in care — and by adequately preparing them for successful futures during their transition to adulthood.

In all of your work as CEO, you will benefit from our talented, dedicated and creative staff team, supported by the senior leadership team and yourself. And, you will be supported by myself and the other Trustees as we continue the legacy of our founder, empowering care-experienced young people to thrive in education, employment and beyond.

Please enjoy reading this information, and I look forward to reading your application.

Best wishes,

Sir Max Hill KCB KC

Letter from the outgoing CEO



Thank you for taking an interest in the role of CEO for Drive Forward Foundation. It has been my privilege to have been the postholder for the last three years — before which I held the position of Operations Director from 2014.

Since the passing of our Founder in January 2021, there has been significant change. We have restructured the charity, promoting from within where possible, planned increases in beneficiaries to 1200 per year by 2026, implemented a new database to facilitate continuous improvement and started to research what a DFF service outside London could look like.

We are proud of our staff, a passionate, committed team that puts the young person at the heart of everything we do.

Our Trustees bring a strong range of professional experiences and skills. In February 2023, they supported the adoption of a new three-year strategy that was bold in its ambition for the organisation. They have been supportive of the changes we have made and are keen to develop the organisation further, recognising that every care-experienced young person in London would benefit from our services.

We have been through much change, but it is now time to focus on the future, and providing the best possible service to transform the lives of those we work with is paramount.

DFF is in an excellent position to build on the platform which has been sustainably over the last 14 years and has a fantastic reputation.

This is a special organisation, looking for a special leader to help it move forwards to its next phase.

I wish you all the very best for your future and hope that you’ll consider this role.

Anton Babey
Outgoing CEO

About us

Our vision is a society where care-experienced people enjoy opportunity, empathy and respect.

Our goal is not just to help our young people find a job, but to work with them to be aspirational and pursue sustainable employment avenues — and we believe the outcomes we achieve enrich over time.

Our individually tailored approach of one-to-one support, employability skills training and excellent corporate networks is what makes us stand out from other providers.

Why we exist

The number of children and young people in care in England increased by over 65% since 1990. Today, there are close to 85,000 children and young people in care in England alone. Each year, around 10,000 young people leave the system — and approximately 2,500 of these are in London.

Young people coming out of care lack the support they need to thrive in adulthood, leading to poorer educational attainment, significantly lower levels of health and well-being, and much bleaker employment prospects.

Close to 40% of care-experienced young people aged 19-21 are not in employment, education or training.

While there are several charities based in London which help young unemployed people into work, Drive Forward is the only organisation to offer holistic support underpinned by sustainable employment services that are tailored to meet the needs of care-experienced young people.

Our extensive partnerships with employers across London mean we can offer work experience, training and employment opportunities to the young people working with us.

Our partner employers understand they will benefit from recruiting young people who bring diverse skills and experience to their workplace. They are also supported by our training, and we work alongside them whilst our young people are settling into employment.

Our Policy Forum

Established in 2016 as a response to the consistent oversight of care experience in policy development and implementation, our Care-experienced Policy Forum aims to bridge the disconnect between policymakers and the lived experiences of young people.

Composed of alumni from Drive Forward’s employment services and passionate individuals driven by a common purpose, they strive to effect transformative policy changes benefiting all care-experienced young people across the UK.

Over the years, the group has been fervently advocating on issues pertaining to housing, health and social care, and criminal justice.

Building valuable relationships with public officials and organisations around the country, we leverage our connections to shape policy agendas and steer legislators to address the unique needs and challenges faced by care-experienced individuals.

Our values


  • We explore, learn, and thrive.
  • We ask bold questions seeking to expand our insight and knowledge to drive leading practice, reframe mindsets, and build better futures.


  • People are at the heart of everything we do.
  • We lead with commitment, champion individuals with compassion, and nurture aspiration.


  • We evolve together.
  • We know our strengths and actively pursue opportunities to work with people who make us stronger; building a supportive community that strives to elevate one another.



  • We encourage honest reflection, cultivate self-belief, and enable our community to break down barriers to promote positive change within and around them.

Accessibility information

We understand that different members of the community have different access needs, and we can make some modifications to the way we do business to accommodate people from diverse communities and abilities.

Applicants with a disability are invited to contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners in confidence at any point during the recruitment process to discuss steps that could be taken to overcome operational difficulties presented by the role, or if any adjustments or support are required regarding the recruitment process.

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Clare Chesworth | clarec@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07904 158737

Lucy Mavers | lucy@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07947 935068

    To access a full job description and application details,
    please fill out the form below.


    Thank you for your interest in this role. Please download the Recruitment Pack.

    To formally apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (ideally maximum 2 sides of A4 each) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification, including your interest and motivation in applying for this position.

    Please ensure that the following five questions are addressed in your covering letter:

    1. Please outline your leadership experience within a third sector setting describing your leadership style.
    2. Please describe your experience of working with local authority and statutory commissioning structures, or explain how you have transferable skills that will enable you to work in these forums.
    3. Give an example of how you have meaningfully engaged with stakeholders to find positive solutions to issues.
    4. Give an example of how you have contributed to the growth and development of an organisation.
    5. Give an example of a challenge you’ve had to overcome or a difficult decision you’ve had to make.

    Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “Application: Drive Forward Foundation – CEO” into the subject field. You will receive an acknowledgement on receipt of your application within 2-3 days. If you do not receive an acknowledgement, please make contact with our admin team.

    For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

    Clare Chesworth | clarec@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07904 158737

    Lucy Mavers | lucy@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07947 935068

    As a sector-leading executive search consultancy, we know the importance of creating recruitment processes which are fair, inclusive and free from bias. We are committed to promoting equality and diversity and developing a process that values differences.

    If you have a disability that meets the definition set out in the Equality Act 2010, and you can show that you meet the ‘essential’ criteria described in the person specification, please let us know.

    If you experience any technical or accessibility difficulties, need help making an application, or have any additional support that needs to be considered as part of the interview and selection process, please let us know.

    Recruitment selection processes are based on evidence of competence stated in the person specification and in relation to our values.


    Closing date: By 9 a.m. Monday 12th August 2024
    Candidates informed of outcome: Friday 16th August 2024
    First stage interviews: Wednesday 21st & Thursday 22nd August 2024
    Informal young people and stakeholder sessions (virtual): TBC
    Second stage interviews and informal meet with outgoing CEO: Thursday 29th August 2024

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and Drive Forward Foundation are committed to promoting equality and diversity. To help us raise awareness and support a culture that is diverse and recognises and develops the potential of all, we need to appreciate the profile of candidates who apply for positions. We will send you an equality monitoring survey at the point of receiving your application, in the interview phase and at the time of placement. This ensures that our processes remain inclusive and equitable throughout, and provides us with important data to help us showcase our impact. The information will be treated confidentially and anonymously and will help us to support our commitment to fair recruitment practices. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the Data Protection Act 2018. The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.

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