Friday, December 13, 2019

News: New initiative to help local businesses engage with schools


Funding has been secured for a £2.7m project that will run across the Sheffield city region (SCR) to work with and support Small and Medium Sized Businesses (SME's) to engage with schools and inspire young people to prepare them for work.

Business Education Alliance aims to develop meaningful employer encounters for young people to engage in. It is based on the idea that young people are more likely to make successful transitions into employment if they have benefitted from work experience and other interactions with businesses during their schooling.

Work experience for pupils at secondary school was removed from the curriculum in 2012. Instead, schools have legal duties to ensure that all pupils at the school are provided with independent careers guidance, supported by "Gatsby" benchmarks. By the end of 2020, schools will also be required to offer every pupil at least seven "meaningful encounters" with employers over the course of their school career.

Councils in Barnsley, Rotherham, Sheffield and Derbyshire County, along with Doncaster Chamber, have worked together to secure around £1.5m of European Social Fund (ESF) money for the new project.


The bid for the funding explained: "Businesses in Sheffield City Region report too many young people lack essential job readiness skills and experience of the world of work and appear to have limited access to quality careers guidance reflecting local labour market intelligence.

"However, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (2014) showed less than a third (31%) of employers in SCR offer work experience, and just 18% offer any "work inspiration" activities such as mock interviews, school based talks or attendance at careers fairs."

Rotherham has taken the lead in recent years with high profile events such as LEAF and Get Up To Speed. Rotherham schools have also embraced the Enterprise Adviser Network.

The new Business Education Alliance is set to include activity such as employer engagement, brokerage, support for businesses and support for schools.

Funding could support business and enterprise mentor programmes and sector partnerships, and a range of school/employer events. SME's will be supported to delivery Gatsby recognised opportunities, careers and Intermediate Labour Market Information events, work placements, industry days, employability support and mentoring.

Matt Gladstone, executive director for place at Barnsley Council - the lead partner on the project, said: "We hope these opportunities will support our young people and provide them with more information and confidence. We want to help them make the right decisions to get ready for work, get into work and achieve their potential."

Images: The Careers & Enterprise Company


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