Community leader and activist Karl Lokko, a former gang leader, has been appointed as global ambassador of Talent RISE, a not-for-profit foundation that offers education, training, work readiness and job placement programs to young people experiencing barriers to employment.

Talent RISE was founded in 2014 to help solve the global issue of youth unemployment. The RISE team work closely with potential employers to source job opportunities across the private and public tech sector. To date, Talent RISE has engaged more than 2,400 young people and placed over 170 into meaningful employment.

Commenting on the appointment, RISE Global CEO, Káti Gapaillard said:

“Karl is a wonderful representation of how your choices and environment can influence your life. He will be an inspiring role model for young people working to build their resilience and skills to enable them to gain and sustain work. At Talent RISE, we know that employment can change lives and give purpose, dignity, security and independence to a young person.”

Karl Lokko grew up on a gang-ridden housing estate in South London. He witnessed his first shooting at the age of 12 and went on to be shot at, stabbed, and saw many of his friends murdered as he rose through the ranks to become one of London’s most high-profile gang leaders. It wasn’t until the intervention of an anti-youth violence project that Karl was able to denounce his gang involvement and turn his life around.

Now a successful campaigner, poet, and public speaker, Karl works to reform gang culture and is passionate about helping all young people achieve their goals and find their purpose. Talking about his involvement with Talent RISE, Karl said he believes the traditional pathways to employment need to be changed.

“Most organisations aren’t aware of the barriers to employment young people in many communities are facing. I want to act as a bridge between these communities and organisations and help educate both sides to give young people more of a chance in the professional world,” Karl said.

“I was very impressed with the work Talent RISE have done globally, and I’ve been wanting to get involved with creating real employment opportunities for young people. I can’t wait to get started and work with the RISE team on this incredibly important project.”

Talent RISE’s UK Director, Andy Chaggar, said:

“Having Karl join us as ambassador is a fantastic step for Talent RISE as we establish our UK presence and help young people find meaningful employment.”

Organisations interested in working with Talent RISE to provide opportunities for young people are encouraged to reach out to the team by visiting

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