Startup Sherpas SuperSquad Parental Policy and Information

We realise that you might want to know a little bit more about the programme and what it means for your child. Here we detail the working practices for our SuperSquads (set out in the format of Questions and Answers), so that you can support your child with confidence.

Who are Startup Sherpas?

Startup Sherpas is a social enterprise working with young people around innovation and entrepreneurship. We work with schools, universities and corporates to deliver real-life work experiences to develop key skills that will support them in their future careers, or maybe even help them start their own businesses.

What is a SuperSquad? 

Our SuperSquads are run in partnership with corporates and other organisations who set real-life challenges for our Squad to work on. This allows these organisations to harness the creativity of young people and future-proof their businesses. In the past we have worked with charities, educational institutions, local government and global businesses.

Paid work experience, so my child gets paid?

This is an Earn & Learn programme and as such everyone who joins a SuperSquad  will be paid for their work. We strongly believe that if people provide value, they should be paid, whatever their age. Payment is based on the number of missions completed through the course of the SuperSquad. A typical SuperSquad is made up of 48 missions over a 6-week period. Each mission requires a maximum of 30 mins to complete which equates to 4 hours per week. We pay for each mission that is completed based on the apprenticeship minimum hourly rate. We do not pay overtime, therefore payment is simply based on the missions completed and uploaded to the Startup Sherpas Platform.

How do they get paid?

Completed work is uploaded onto the Startup Sherpas online platform which allows us to see which missions have been completed. Payment is made at the end of the programme once work has been uploaded to the platform. If we are unable to see the work, payment will not be made. Participants must have a bank account or have nominated a bank account that they are happy for the money to be paid into.

How is this project being funded?

All of our SuperSquads are funded by one or more Sponsor organisations (e.g. corporates), who partner with us to set the design questions that the SuperSquad work on. These are related to real challenges the Sponsor organisation is facing. They support us in helping the Squad understand the question and its context and then adopt the insights and ideas that the Squad generates. 

Who can apply for this programme?

The programme is open to anyone aged between 13 and 18 and is not based on academic achievements. We look to recruit (where possible) across a broad spectrum of diverse groups in terms of geography, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic factors or neuro profile.  and one factor of diversity that we have invented ourselves – “raise your hand” diversity.  The only exception to this is when a sponsor sets a design question which might focus on a specific ‘group’ based on geographical location or age.

What skills do Squad members develop?

The World Economic Forum list 10 skills that our work force will need in the future (, many of which, our squad members will be exposed to. They include:

  1. Analytical thinking and innovation
  2. Active learning and learning strategies
  3. Critical thinking
  4. Creativity, originality and initiative
  5. Digital communication and literacy skills
  6. Resilience and flexibility
  7. Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation
  8. Communications skills
  9. Self confidence
  10.  Transferable skills from the classroom to real-life situations

Why do we pay teenagers to do work experience? 

  1. Develops independence, responsibility and accountability in a safe and secure environment that gives teenagers an insight into the world of work. 
  2. Everyone has the right to be paid for work they have completed regardless of age. The government age limit is 13 and above.
  3. Payment ensures high levels of commitment and participation throughout the program.

What is the application process? 

Our aim is to make the application process as accessible and inclusive as possible. We ask applicants to fill out a short form and record a video telling us a bit about themselves. There is also the option of submitting an audio file, if some applicants would feel more comfortable. It can often help if another person records the video and asks them a couple of questions to get them started. 

What are we looking for in the application video/audio?

1. Tell us about you

When recording your video, we are not looking for an Oscar winning performance. Scrappy and raw is fine. Be brave and go for it! Only the Startup Sherpas team will view your video.

2. Academic results


This is about you as a person – more personal statement than CV. You are the only you in the world so tell us about you –  what you love, what you hate, what being a Squad member would mean to you.


Everything we do on Startup Sherpas is time-boxed, usually to 25 mins. Same goes for your application. Don’t spend all day or all evening on it. Get out your phone, record a video and then get on with enjoying your day!

How do we manage these SuperSquads? 

All of our SuperSquads are run using 3 key platforms;

  1. Startup Sherpas Platform – this is where our SuperSquads will find out what they have to do and when. Squad members will be able to view the overall SuperSquad structure in weeks, and the detailed set of instructions which is broken down into simple, manageable steps, for each mission. Squad members will work through each of the missions which are supported by video & written instructions. Once a mission is completed work is submitted to the Squad members journal within the Startup Sherpas Platform. Every Squad member is automatically enrolled on the platform when they join a Squad.
  2. Mattermost (a community and messaging platform, which we have adapted to suit our safeguarding needs on our own server) – while our SuperSquads operate asynchronously (missions are completed on their own, in their own time), it is important that squad members are not isolated and feel part of a community that offers mutual support. It also enables us, at certain key points, to update the Squad on important information or pull the Squad together for group work. It is vitally important that squad members abide by our Code of Conduct in order to provide a safe environment for all. Therefore, we ask all members to agree to our Terms and Conditions. This platform is continuously monitored by our DBS checked staff, and any breach of the Code of Conduct will be investigated.
  3. Zoom (a video conferencing platform)- at points through the course, primarily for the launch and at the end of a SuperSquad, we host live calls for squad members. This allows us to meet the squad members, introduce the staff running the team, introduce the design question and answer any questions from members. 

Further Opportunities

We believe teens have a huge amount to offer. Our sponsors are always blown away by the talent, insights and confidence that squad members demonstrate. We want to promote this further and so, where we can, we like to offer further responsibilities for those teens who are able to. This could be in the form of becoming a squad leader (helping others within the squad) or working for Startup Sherpas on content creation, admin, or marketing. This gives teens further responsibility and opportunities which they can cite on university applications and/or their CV for future employment.


We are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expect all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. All of our programmes are run within a Secure Squad Space. This means that all adults who are in contact with squad members are DBS checked. The businesses and organisations we work with have no direct access or communication with any of the young people taking part in the programme. The platforms used (the Start Up Sherpa platform and Slack) are secure, invitation only and password protected. These platforms are monitored regularly by our trained staff. Please see our Safeguarding Policy for further information.

We expect all members to uphold and work within our E-Safety Code of Conduct. Any member who is found to have breached this Code of Conduct will be removed from the squad.

Risk Assessment, Safeguarding Policy and Insurance

Here are our key policies and other documents. We provide some of these documents to Councils since they are required for work permits, and as part of the onboarding process by agreeing to this Parental Policy, you also agree to our safeguarding and code of use policy..

Contact Information

If there is a problem or you would like to make contact please email