Heart of the South West Careers Hub

The Heart of the South West Careers Hub is one of 33 Careers Hubs in the UK, established in collaboration with The Careers and Enterprise Company to help transform careers education for young people around the country. The HotSW Careers Hub is delivered by the Heart of the South West (HotSW) LEP, and operates in the HotSW area   of Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay.

The HotSW Careers Hub currently comprises 60 local secondary schools, colleges and FE institutes working together with employers, universities and career professionals to deliver the  Gatsby Benchmarks  and ensuring that careers outcomes are improved for all young people.

The Government’s  Careers Strategy  has been promoted nationally to support schools in implementing better career and enterprise provision for young people, but we need businesses, innovators and industry experts to work with us and secondary schools, to help make this happen.

Contact the Careers Hub team via  careershub@devon.gov.uk  to find out more.


Employers are key to the success of the HotSW Careers Hub and of our young people. We work with businesses of all sizes to ensure they find the right future talent for their organisation and offer every young person the opportunity to explore their options and succeed in the world of work.

Encounters with employers bring the world of work to life for young people. Research shows that a young person who has four or more encounters with an employer is 86% less likely to be unemployed or not in education or training, and can earn up to 18% more during their career. Our long-term aim is to match every secondary school in the Heart of the South West area to a dedicated business volunteer or Enterprise Adviser (EA) by the end of 2020.

We are currently working with over 90 Enterprise Advisers (EAs) across Devon & Somerset but we are always looking for more. Our valuable EAs help to support local Secondary Schools / Colleges to develop and implement a strategic Careers Plan to drive aspiration and skills needed for the future workforce.

There are many ways your business can help:

  • Offer young people encounters with the world of work, such as mentoring or work experience
  • Encourage your staff to volunteer for local outreach activities or work encounters
  • Take your school engagement programmes into more schools and colleges
  • Volunteer as an individual Enterprise Adviser and work with a local school or college to help develop their careers plan –  Become an Enterprise Adviser
  • Give An Hour  


The government’s Careers Strategy published in December 2017 sets out guidance for schools and colleges regarding careers provision and best practice expectations.

The Heart of the South West Careers Hub plays a central part in supporting schools and colleges to help deliver the governments careers strategy here in the Heart of the South West. Established to create sustainable relationships between education and business, the Heart of the South West Careers Hub, facilitates schools and employers to work together to inspire and prepare young people for the fast-changing world of work.

The Careers Hub supports schools and colleges to implement high quality careers guidance by matching establishments with a named volunteer from business, an Enterprise Adviser (EA).   Working school leaders, careers professionals and supported by a dedicated Heart of the South West Enterprise Coordinator, an EA uses their strategic experience, industry knowledge and business contacts to help to develop a careers plan and create opportunities for pupils in line with the Statutory Guidance for School Leaders


To get involved or be kept up to date via our monthly newsletter, please email    careershub@devon.gov.uk

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    David Ralph

    Chief Executive

    David Ralph started as Chief Executive of Heart of South West LEP at the beginning of June 2018. Previously, he had spent 5 years as CEO of the Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire (D2N2) LEP from 2013 where he oversaw the development of the D2N2 Strategic Economic Plan and sector strategies, 3 Growth Deals with HM Government to deliver a £1billion capital investment programme, securing and implementing £200m ESIF programme, the Derby and Nottingham Enterprise Zone, the D2N2 Skills Deal and Time for Innovation programme, community fund and led the executive team to develop the HS2 East Midlands hub. He was also closely involved in the proposed North Midlands Devolution Deal and one of the key architects in establishing the Midlands Engine, chairing the officer steering group. Whilst in this role David was a NED of the Nottingham Enterprise Zone, and Marketing NG, the Outer Estates Foundation and a Governor of Nottingham College and on the advisory Board of Nottingham Business School.

    Before the East Midlands, David was CEO of the Have Gateway Partnership working closely with local stakeholders including the ports of Felixstowe, Harwich and Ipswich and BT Adadastral Park across Suffolk and Essex and prior to that was Chief Exec of the Barton Hill New Deal for Communities programme in Bristol and the Nelm Development Trust in Norwich.

    David is a keen sailor, walker and trail runner.