A new programme, designed to encourage greater links between schools and local businesses, has launched a campaign to recruit business mentors.
The Enterprise Adviser Service is looking for volunteers from businesses to work closely with schools, to share their knowledge and to improve the careers advice and guidance available to young people.
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, who will work closely with the school on a strategic basis, to evaluate the existing activity relating to careers and enterprise.
The volunteer experts will help the school identify new ideas and a bespoke action plan will be put into place.
Steve Hindley, Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP, said: “The Enterprise Adviser Service is a great idea that will help young people make informed choices about their careers and qualifications.
“Many local businesses have fantastic opportunities in 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.
“This scheme will help raise awareness about the wealth of jobs in a diverse range of sectors that there are here in the Heart of the South West; and it’s as important to inform the schools themselves as well as the young people coming up through the education system, as they are the main influencers in career choices.
“I hope that many of the leading business experts in the HotSW area will devote some of their time and expertise to help deliver this important new service.”
Stephen Criddle, Chair of the Enterprise Adviser Steering Group and Principal of South Devon College said: “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. We expect businesses to provide around eight hours of support each month, initially working with the senior leadership team to put together and implement an action plan.”
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.
Applications are now being accepted and will close on Friday 17th June: to find out more and to apply, please visit www.heartofswlep.co.uk/easapply
We have received the first set of applications from across the LEP area and are now matching schools with employers.
However, we are still looking to recruit Advisers in the Somerset area – if you would like to get involved, please complete the form below and we’ll be in touch.
In addition, we are still keen to hear from other employers throughout the wider LEP area (Devon, Plymouth and Torbay). We hope the project will continue in the future and will be in contact.