Across England, 66% of businesses would prefer to employ a young person who has work experience but only 34% of employers offer work experience to young people in education and there are many reasons for this mismatch.
The vast majority of employers are keen to engage in education and share knowledge about their company and industry but are just not sure where to start. Schools and colleges, by their very nature, work to very tight timescales and are focussing on qualification attainment as this is the main area on which they are graded by Ofsted.
Also, around 85% of the companies in the Coast to Capital area (West Sussex, Brighton & Hove, Lewes, East Surrey and Croydon) have 10 or fewer employees so they do not necessarily have the resources to reach out in the same way as medium to large companies. However, they will all need the next generation to work for them.
One of the best ways to ensure that young people in education have an understanding of industry and the pathways to work is for businesses to get involved in the Enterprise Adviser Network. This is an innovative idea that links the worlds of work and education.
Senior business leaders are recruited as Enterprise Advisers to volunteer directly with the senior leadership team in a school or college for around 8 hours a month. They meet with the head teacher and other senior colleagues to develop a strategic plan to embed careers and enterprise across the curriculum and increase the number of employer encounters for every student.
This can include a variety of activities from work experience, work place visits, inspirational talks and real-life projects to help students understand more about what opportunities are available to them.
Another way to support the Enterprise Adviser Network is to become an Industry Champion. It gives business leaders an opportunity to promote their industry, share knowledge, and talk about their career and pathway into work. This helps students see that there are many different jobs and industries that will link with the skills and knowledge that they have.
Coast to Capital LEP delivers the Enterprise Adviser Network and employs five Enterprise Coordinators who facilitate and manage these strategic relationships as well as creating a network of employers from across the LEP area who are keen to engage with schools and colleges.
Each of the Enterprise Coordinators look after around 20 schools and colleges and work within the business community to enable more collaboration between education and the world of work, ensuring that the future workforce has the skills and competencies to work effectively in a changing world. They also work very closely with stakeholders and partners including Chambers, Local Authorities, business groups, Universities and organisations such as the National Careers Service, Engineering UK, CIPD, and the British Science Association.
Beki Tonks, Senior Enterprise Coordinator said:
“Building a strong and sustainable bridge between the worlds of work and education is absolutely vital to the future of our economy. Young people need to have meaningful encounters with employers across a variety of sectors to help them make more informed decisions about their future education and career plans. Getting involved in the Enterprise Adviser Network will provide you with the platform to positively influence our future workforce and ensure ongoing economic stability and the growth of innovation in our area.”
If you are interested in becoming involved in this excellent careers and enterprise initiative please contact Beki Tonks on 07484 542006 or email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.