About us

Our mission

We’re Positive Footprints and we’ve been raising the aspirations of children and young people since 2012. Positive Footprints was set up to close the skills gap in the UK and open up the world of work.

Children as young as seven make career decisions based on people they know. They also begin to form stereotypical opinions around certain careers. For some children, this can have a huge impact on their future aspirations, and they rule out certain careers before leaving primary school. We’re here to change that.

We believe that everyone has the right to do what they love and should be given every opportunity to succeed, so we worked with government bodies, the education sector and industry and business leaders to produce careers guidance programmes that enable children and young people to discover their potential, build resilience, develop employability skills and explore the world of work.

In addition to classroom-based learning, career carousel events bring businesses and schools together, opening up the world of work and making a real difference to the aspirations of young people.

Collection of the regenda group logos

Part of The Regenda Group

Positive Footprints is part of The Regenda Group, a great quality, forward thinking regeneration business, providing homes, training and care and support to neighbourhoods across the North West. We share the same values as our parent company, and you can read more about them and our shared values by clicking below.

Our history

We’ve come a long way since 2012! Read about how we started and how we became the company we are today…

  • The beginning

    From the very beginning, there have been people who have given their time, support, expertise, encouragement and opened doors for us because they believe in what we are trying to achieve. Some of those wonderful people believed in us so much that they joined our team to work with us on our journey.

  • Our first step

    Positive Footprints was founded by Lesley Burrows to give children and young people a strong sense of purpose, so they can leave a positive footprint at every stage of their life. Her favourite poem is Footprints in the Sand, which inspired the name Positive Footprints. We worked with businesses and the education sector to produce The Job Junction, a programme that can be easily used by schools and, more importantly, brings joy to everyone involved!

  • We got some funding!

    We received funding from Lancashire County Council to bring our programmes to Sir John Thursby Community College in Burnley and Marsden Heights Community College in Nelson. Both schools made The Job Junction part of the fabric of their schools, creating a dedicated space in their buildings for programme delivery.

  • We’re on TV

    Our The Job Junction programme featured on ITV’s Granada Reports.

  • A busy year

    We partnered with Sandwell Metropolitan Council to provide The Job Junction programme to 10 secondary schools in the area.

  • Recommendation

    How did Vince Cable know we’re brilliant? He knew thanks to MP Gordon Birtwistle, who submitted a private members bill to parliament to offer better careers advice to 12-16 year olds, after meeting our MD.

  • Getting noticed

    Vince Cable, who was Business Secretary at the time, backed our programme in his Mansion House speech about careers, when he said “…I want to see more projects like the brilliant The Job Junction being piloted in Burnley and the Black Country borough of Sandwell – where mock job centres are established in collaboration with local business, advertising and explaining real jobs in schools and promoting awareness of a wide variety of vocational careers.”

  • Praised by Ofsted

    Our programme was recognised by Ofsted during an inspection at Sir John Thursby Community College, where they wrote: ‘The guidance that students receive is excellent. Students are made fully aware of career opportunities through the ‘Job Junction’ within the school..’

  • Vist at No.10

    The Department for Innovation and Skills contacted us after hearing Vince Cable’s speech, to find out more about our ‘brilliant Job Junction’. They loved us and invited us to 10 Downing Street to talk to Lord Young about developing The Job Junction to include primary schools and further education facilities. Our programme was used as an example of best practice in the Enterprise for All report to David Cameron (the then Prime Minister).

  • Funding for primary and further education

    We secured funding from the Department for Innovation and Skills to provide our programme to five secondary schools and to develop and pilot programmes for primary schools and further education facilities. We piloted our new programmes with two primary schools and a sixth form college in Burnley, creating and testing our Raising Aspirations and Stepping Up Standing Out programmes.

  • Garden party

    We went to see the Queen! Our MD was invited to attend the Queen’s Garden Party (yes, her mum was very proud!) to recognise the great work we were doing.

  • Raising aspirations

    We launched our first Primary Raising Aspirations programme at Hapton Church of England/Methodist Primary School in a special event.

  • Stepping up, standing out

    We launched the first Stepping Up Standing Out programme at Thomas Whitham Sixth Form.

  • What a year!

    We had a very busy 2015! As well as delivering and evaluating our programmes, we were taking every opportunity to influence government strategy to extend careers guidance for primary school children, meeting with ministers and other great organisations who shared our vision. We were supported every step of the way by some very influential people.

  • Rolling out our programmes

    We rolled out our Raising Aspirations and Stepping Up Standing Out programmes in Lancashire.

  • Aspirations partner

    We launched our Aspirations Partner model, allowing businesses, housing associations, colleges and universities to buy our programmes as part of their social investment and engagement, bringing it to schools in their areas. Our first Aspirations Partner was The Regenda Group. The Regenda Group took the programme to every school in Fleetwood as part of their 10-year vision for the area.

  • Working with UCLan

    We also partnered with our first university, UCLan, who brought the programme to 14 primary schools –  what a celebration the children had when they finished!

  • Raising aspirations in Blackpool

    We then worked with Calico Homes and Blackpool and The Fylde College, who collectively funded 16 primary schools in Blackpool.

  • Teaming up

    Regenda loved our programmes so much, they invited us to join their Group – and we did! We shared their values and their vision to regenerate places and people – what’s not to love about such a partnership? We’ve never looked back!

  • Bringing housing and education together

    We attended the CIH conference (Europe’s largest housing conference) to bring housing and education together. To get our message across, we took 60 – yes 60 – children from Flakefleet Primary School, who gave an amazing performance for delegates and spoke about their experience of the Raising Aspirations programme.

  • Customer focus

    We won the Best Customer Focus award at The Regenda Group staff conference!

  • Inspiring Wyre

    As part of our ambition to reach every school in the UK, we launched the Inspiring Wyre initiative to bring our programmes to every primary school in Wyre. We started planning Inspiring Pendle, Inspiring Liverpool, Inspiring Burnley and Inspiring Blackpool.

  • We won!

    After years of hard work, our Raising Aspirations programme won the inaugural UK Career Development Institute Award for a Careers Programme in a primary school.

Meet the team

We couldn’t do what we do without our amazing team, so meet the people that make us brilliant…

Lesley Burrows

Managing Director
  • Mrs Positive
  • Passionate about helping young people
  • Loves to talk!
  • Loves a challenge

Josh Cliff

Partnerships/Programmes Manager
  • Positive thinker - bold, not bald
  • Curious about people and ageing
  • Pretend coffee connoisseur

Heather Bulcock

Delivery/Operations Manager
  • Little Miss Organised
  • Well stocked handbag
  • Small in stature, but not in determination
  • Obsessed with Mexican food

Jo Norwood

Customer Relationship Manager
  • Loves a to-do list
  • Could eat pizza every day
  • Enjoys live music
  • Likes fancy stationery

Jamie Etherington

Graphic/Web Designer
  • Loves to learn
  • The go-to guy, for anything technical
  • Loves anything geeky

Kate McLaughlin

Digital Marketing Apprentice
  • Crazy Cat Lady in the making
  • Loves Photography
  • Always writing little stories

Karen Jackson

Project Lead
  • Believes every child matters
  • Warm water scuba diver
  • Loves anything dangerous

Michelle Parry

Project Support
  • Background in education, careers and admin
  • Country girl at heart
  • Believes there’s nothing better than a nap

Melanie Henry

Project Support
  • Often described as a Phoebe
  • Interested in all things first aid
  • Always singing – even if it’s made up!

Kathryn Woodfield

Production Co-ordinator
  • Always has a smile on her face
  • Dare devil at heart
  • Loves sport and very competitive!

Vickie Gotthardt

Accounts and Purchasing
  • Loves to travel
  • Does not love mess
  • Can’t resist Haribos
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