Somerset Business Mentors needed for Enterprise Adviser Network

Somerset businesses are being urged to take part in a new project, designed to encourage greater links between schools and local businesses.

The Enterprise Adviser Network launched a campaign last month to recruit volunteer business mentors: so far the programme has recruited 24 volunteer business mentors from throughout Devon, Plymouth and Torbay, but still needs more businesses in Somerset to take part. In particular, the Network is looking for businesses in Frome, Glastonbury, Shepton Mallet, Wincanton, Yeovil, Bridgwater and Highbridge.

Commissioned by the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP), in conjunction with the four upper tier local authorities, the Enterprise Adviser Service encourages employers and schools to work together to support young people in making informed choices about their future careers.

Schools will be matched with a volunteer employer for at least one year, to share their knowledge and to improve the careers advice and guidance available to young people.
The volunteer experts will help the school identify new ideas and a bespoke action plan will be put into place.

Stephen Criddle, Chair of the Enterprise Adviser Steering Group, Principal of South Devon College and HotSW LEP Board Member said: “We’ve had a fantastic start to the programme by recruiting 24 business advisers to date. However, we want to ensure that young people in Somerset don’t miss out and would like to particularly encourage Somerset businesses to get in touch.

“We know that young people that experience contact with employers whilst at school are more likely to remain engaged and have better career prospects. Businesses that get involved in the programme will get the chance to directly support young people in the area and influence skills development for the future.”

Steve Hindley, Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP, said: “The Enterprise Adviser Service is an important project that will help young people make informed choices about their careers and qualifications.

“Many local businesses have exciting opportunities and rewarding careers that they all too often need to recruit out of the area for, because local people haven’t taken up the necessary qualifications and training.

“I hope that more of the leading business experts in the Somerset area will devote some of their time and expertise to help deliver this important new service.”

Initially the project, which was launched in March 2016, will run in 36 schools across the Heart of the South West area, covering Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay. Schools have been selected according to a number of criteria, including exam results, the number of pupils receiving free school meals and the numbers of school leavers not in education, employment or training (NEETS).

The ultimate aim is to roll this out to all schools in the area as additional funding becomes available.

CSW Group is contracted to provide the service, which is being funded by the Careers and Enterprise Company, Devon County Council, Somerset County Council, Plymouth City Council and Torbay Development Agency.

To find out more and to apply, please visit www.heartofswlep.co.uk/easapply