Cash boost makes Heart of the South West Careers Hub one of the largest in the country

The Heart of the South West (HotSW) Careers Hub is expanding to every school in Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay – becoming one of the largest Hubs in the country.

£2m (national) government funding, along with local authority match funding has secured a one-year extension to the HotSW Careers Hub. The hub will continue delivering high-quality support for schools through collaboration with business partners, the public, education and voluntary sectors to ensure students have access to real world connections with businesses and work.

From September, the expanded Hub will work with all 150 state-funded secondary schools and 11 Further Education colleges across the HotSW LEP area; including Special Educational Need & Disability schools and Pupil Referral Units.

The HotSW Careers Hub team works with schools, colleges, training providers, universities, employers and career professionals and through doing so, facilitates innovative and engaging interactions with industry.

The HotSW Careers Hub was set up in 2018 and its notable successes include: establishing an effective Cornerstone Employers Group of eleven employers who work collaboratively and strategically with the Hub Manager; to help ensure that schools and colleges in the HotSW Careers Hub are moving towards achieving all eight Gatsby Benchmarks.

By working collectively, this group supports educationalists, training providers and employers to prepare and inspire young people in our communities for the fast-changing world of work. The group meets four times per academic year to review performance and update their agreed activities to meet emerging needs.

National research shows that schools and colleges who are a part of Careers Hubs run twice as many regular encounters with employers and can offer more work experience opportunities to students. They also develop high quality opportunities to learn about careers directly from the jobs market.

The Careers & Enterprise Company, the national organisation that oversees Careers Hubs, attributed the HotSW bid success to its track record of achievement, the strong local commitment from partners, and the scope of its bid to cover all schools.

The Careers and Enterprise Company say the hubs will play a “critical role in supporting local skills development, and as key responses to LEP’s and Mayoral local economic recovery plans” to Covid-19.

Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Karl Tucker said:

“Careers advice and guidance is more important than ever for our young people preparing for the world of work. As we move forward towards recovery, following the pandemic, there will be changes in our economy and the requirements of industry will shift to adapt to new ways of working and new sectors and skills will emerge.

“So it’s great news that this funding boost will enable our Careers Hub to roll out its expertise to every school in the HotSW area, giving our students the best chance in making the informed choices in our changing business landscape.

“I am also Managing Director of Yeo Valley Properties Ltd  which I am proud to say is a member of the HotSW Careers Hub Cornerstone Employers, who work directly with schools and colleges to give students real-life experiences in industry and advise on the skills and training needs of business.

“I wish the HotSW Careers Hub every success over its next year of delivery, as it continues to improve the prospects of young people as they embark on their future careers.”

Heart of the South West Careers Hub Manager Victoria Gage said:

“We are excited and proud that the great work we have done has not just been highlighted by The Careers and Enterprise Company as an example of good practice; but has been recognised in them expanding our offer to reach out to all schools in the Heart of the South West area, and positively impacting on more young peoples’ education.”

Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, Gillian Keegan said:

“We want young people across the country to receive the best careers advice so they can get a head start in the world of work and go on to have successful careers.

“The expansion of our Careers Hubs will mean we are now supporting more than 2,200 schools and colleges, bringing them together with employers to provide high quality careers guidance.

“Now, more than ever, it’s vital young people make the most of their talents and are aware of the range of opportunities available. This is brilliant news and I look forward to hearing about the progress made.”