Wednesday, September 28, 2022

News: Business leaders and educators help to launch Skills Street in Rotherham


More than 200 business leaders and educators from across the region met to officially launch plans for South Yorkshire’s new innovative and immersive careers experience, Skills Street.

Details of the project that will be supported by the Levelling Up Fund were shared at a recent business breakfast event.

Based on the site of the UK’s newest theme park, Gulliver’s Valley in Rotherham, Skills Street will transform the way the region delivers work related experiences and training for young people, schools, families, and educators. Skills Street is a new hands-on approach to developing, growing, and honing skills with the aim of inspiring and informing children, young people and adults about the world of work and careers.

This interactive centre will be delivered by a partnership between Gulliver’s Valley Theme Park, The Work-wise Foundation and The Source Skills Academy, creating a Centre of Excellence to learn about the world of work across all sectors and industries.

Julie Dalton, managing director of Gulliver’s Valley said: “It was fantastic to share our passion and excitement for Skills Street with businesses and educators from across the region.

“This was an interactive session where we shared details about our plans for Skills Street, talked about it being a real game changer for the pipeline of employment in the region and we asked for feedback and listened to ideas from the audience. This project will be amazing because it is a collaborative project and from day one, we’ve been asking and listening.

“Businesses are telling us about the challenges they face, and this year has been particularly challenging across all sectors in terms of recruiting staff with the right skills to do the job and that is why Skills Street is so important to help us to move forward.

“This fully immersive street will be a place where businesses can put their skills and then we can train young people, we’re aiming to work with children from the ages of five upwards. We need to start harnessing the excitement that our younger children have and developing that from an early age.

"Why do we not talk to kids about careers until the age of 16?" It's one of my pet hates. It should be when they are excited. It's at five and six.

“South Yorkshire is a home to some amazing organisations, and we are looking forward to working with them as we showcase this new engaging, innovative experience developed to inspire and inform children, young people, and adults from across the region.”

John Barber, CEO of the Work-wise Foundation added: “We were thrilled to see so many people attend our launch event to find out more about Skills Street.

“Our panel session saw us answering questions from the audience who were keen to explore ways of working with us and ensuring that our approach will be a joined up, complimentary offer to what is already available in this area – and it will be.

“Skills Street will not only inspire our young people as they are shown the amazing world of work and career opportunities available in the South Yorkshire area it will do this in a fun and exciting way with a team of edutainers bringing the opportunities to life and showcase the opportunities on offer and skills needed to succeed.

“This is going to be wonderful for our region and is one of the most exciting projects to happen in the field of skills and careers for young people in our region for a long time.”

Construction is expected to begin in 2023 with the aim of opening Skills Street the same year.

The project is part of a £20m pound investment secured by Rotherham Council to help improve the leisure economy and skills in Rotherham. Other attractions also benefiting from the Leveling Up funding include Wentworth Woodhouse, Thrybergh Country Park, Rother Valley Country Park, Magna and Maltby Learning Trust.

On Skills Street children and young people will be able to walk into a bank and learn about the different roles and skills needed to work in the financial sector, or step into an engineering environment and have a go at designing or making a product. retail shops will enable customer service and money taking skills to be practiced and leisure and hospitality outlets will demonstrate the skills needed to succeed in these careers – all through hands on play, practice and performance.

Natalie Doherty, director of quality, curriculum and innovation at The Source Academy, said: “We are involved in Skills Street because we believe in the young people of South Yorkshire and we believe that we can support business to drive and support curriculum, work experience and have a real say in the education of young people.

“Skills Street will be an amazing space where individuals, families, schools and the community will be able to explore the great opportunities for careers and training in the region in a relaxed and informal setting.

“It simply can’t come soon enough; our young people need and deserve this resource and our businesses will benefit hugely. It will be a creative environment allowing careers training to flourish at all levels from school leavers to business leaders in the leadership academy through to returners to work.”

Skills Street website

Images: Gulliver's Valley


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