It’s clear that there needs to be a closer relationship between education and business in order to address the skills gap and ensure everything possible is being done to nurture the workforce of the future.
As part of a national government initiative, the South East Midlands Careers Hub is facilitating the building of stronger connections between employers and education institutions to improve the career prospects of young people within an employer’s area.
In inviting employers to volunteer to share their skills, experience and networks with education leaders in schools, special schools and colleges, the Careers Hub is aiming to develop a new and innovative approach to careers provision that will improve the opportunities available to anyone leaving education and moving into the world of work.
Key to this initiative is the role of the Enterprise Adviser (EA). Although employers are encouraged to offer whatever they can to a local school, even if that’s just an hour a month, those that are able to take on the EA role will offer commitment over a longer period.
EAs will work with careers and education leaders to provide an employer perspective, ensuring that opportunities with local businesses and employers are a major feature of a young person’s education. A local Enterprise Coordinator from the Careers Hub team will support and introduce the EA to a suitable local school or college and provide support throughout the process to deliver optimum results.
The input of an EA will very much depend on the needs of the school or college in the local area, but in general the Careers Hub aims to:
- Raise the quality of careers provision: using skills and experience to drive careers leadership and identify opportunities to improve careers provision.
- Drive more high-quality experiences with employers: using contacts and networks to encourage a wider group of employers and businesses to work with education institutions.
- Promote apprenticeships and technical and vocational routes: by sharing industry knowledge and insights to increase awareness of the range of pathways and opportunities available.
- Focus on interventions for economically disadvantaged young people: using benchmarking and measuring tools to identify and address the needs of young people.
- Connect careers provision to the needs of the local economy: sharing real-time market information and helping to embed this into careers planning to ensure alignment with the needs of employers.
The ideal EA will be someone that has the ability to build relationships and communicate with careers leaders and headteachers. The EA needs to be well connected to other local employers’ networks and have contacts with whom they are willing to share opportunities from their school or college.
EAs tend to commit to volunteering in the role for an academic year, and to be matched to a school or college within Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes, Luton or Northamptonshire. The expectation is that this will include sufficient time to bring about positive change, on average a few hours a month. EAs are intensively supported by a team of Enterprise Coordinators, they also meet one another to connect and collaborate at local networking meetings. They are encouraged to promote the role among their contacts and networks to contribute to the recruitment of new volunteers.
Although the initial commitment is to one academic year, the majority of EAs continue their role after that, once the benefits, which include giving back to the local community, meeting new people and growing their professional network and improving their own skills and learning, become apparent.
“Becoming an EA is a commitment but one that is essential to ensuring that we strengthen the links between employers and education in order to give young people the best chance of meeting the needs of today’s workplaces.
“As a part of this major national initiative, we’re asking employers across Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes, Luton and Northamptonshire to commit some of their time to support us in improving the careers education of aspiring young people who will be leaving schools, special schools and colleges in the next few years, and preparing them to meet the needs of local employers.
“We can only do that if we know what those needs are, and that means building closer relationships between education and business.
“There are, of course, always opportunities to get involved, even where committing to an EA role is not possible, and our Careers Hub team would be delighted to discuss with anyone ideas they have on what they can do to support us.”
Enterprise Adviser Raswella Warburton, a Career Transition Coach, Consultant, and Trainer, said:
“I find immense satisfaction in my role as an Enterprise Adviser as it allows me to witness students’ eyes lighting up with inspiration as they explore the world of business, entrepreneurship, work and higher education. Guiding them through practical insights and real-world scenarios, I help students develop the confidence to turn their innovative ideas into actionable plans for a brighter future.”