By Georgina Angele, Enterprise Coordinator

In last month’s edition of Platinum Business, Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC) and the Enterprise Adviser Network was introduced as having launched in the Coast to Capital region. The Careers & Enterprise Company is an employer-led organisation that has been set up to inspire and prepare young people for the fast-changing world of work. The role of the CEC is to act as a catalyst in the fragmented landscape of careers and enterprise, supporting programmes that work, filling gaps in education and training provision and ensuring tailored coverage across the country.

Over the course of the past 2 academic years, 37 of the 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in England have embarked on a national initiative to recruit, support and coordinate a regional volunteer network of senior business leaders – Enterprise Advisers (EA’s) - from local private, public and voluntary organisations, to work strategically with school and college leaders on the creation of careers education plans and meaningful, quality encounters for students and teachers with local, regional and national employers, training providers and apprentices.

Our schools and colleges work with dedication to inspire and prepare young people for the fast-changing world of work. Across all employment sectors and sizes of organisations, employers are eager to help and support. They want to make sure that people leave education and seek employment, they are confident about what they want to do and are as ready as they can be for what is ahead. Employers look for effective national and regional recruitment strategies and growing pipelines of local talent directly from our schools, colleges and universities is critical to the success of these strategies.

Our young people have no shortage of aspiration, ambition and desire to succeed. However, whilst there are excellent, local examples of engagement between education and business; we are still some way from ensuring that all young people are given the inspiration, information and support they need to enter the world of employment.

Academic attainment is improving; many of our regional schools, academies and colleges recently publishing the fantastic GCSE and A level results of their students. Yet, employers remain concerned about young people’s readiness for the workplace. Although, national unemployment is declining, young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than the rest of the population.

Most young people do not expect to have jobs like their parents. They are right. The workplace and the skills employers need are changing… and in most sectors they are changing fast due to the advances and increased use of technology in business. Small and medium sized companies now account for the majority of employment opportunities in the UK. In the Coast to Capital region, 99% of registered businesses are SME’s.

Over the past 10 months, 20 schools and colleges in the Coast to Capital region have already engaged in the creation of an Enterprise Adviser Network. Funding to upscale the EAN across the entire region is in place and therefore Coast to Capital LEP is now actively recruiting senior business leaders and employers to join the local EAN and become an essential part of a national Enterprise Adviser Network that is already over 850 people strong across the country. The EAN will have a priority sector focus in line with those of Coast to Capital Skills Strategy, including Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering, Creative Digital & IT, Construction, Health & Social Care and Visitor & Rural Economies. In this first phase of the EAN, Coast to Capital are thrilled to have been supported by volunteer Enterprise Advisers in the following organisations: Amplicon, Bowers & Wilkins Group, Business in the Community, Cap Gemini, Chichester College, Glaxo SmithKline, Go Crimson, Hayden Consulting, John Young Media, Kingsley Group, Parafix Holdings Ltd, Parsons Brinckerhoff, RiiG Ltd, RARE Business, Saga Healthcare, Southern Water, STEMSussex, Sussex County Cricket Club, The Body Shop, URT Group Ltd, Work & Learning Opportunities C.I.C and Young Enterprise.

To find out how you and your organisation can be involved, contact Georgina directly on georgina.angele@coast2capital.org.uk or 07879 980444.

COAST TO CAPITAL LEP is working with the Careers & Enterprise Company to establish a network to make it easier for schools and colleges to connect with employers and education providers and vice versa. At the heart of this network is a set of full-time Enterprise Coordinators, each of whom works with a cluster of 20 schools and colleges. Part of their role is to recruit organisations and individuals into the network, either as Enterprise Advisers or to deliver activities or encounters in a school or workplace setting that can strength the Careers Education strategy being delivered to students. At full coverage there will be 175 Enterprise Coordinators working with the 3500+ secondary schools and colleges across England. Coast to Capital are recruiting a number of Enterprise Coordinators to support the upscale of the EAN across West Sussex, Brighton & Hove, East Surrey and Croydon.

In addition to the Enterprise Coordinators, each school or college is supported by a senior and strategic volunteer – their Enterprise Adviser. Their role is provide strategic counsel to the Head Teacher and/or Principal and their senior team, unlocking relationships with other businesses and providing guidance on the how best to connect with employers so that activities can be built into the school or colleges careers plans for their teachers and students. This is how the world of work is shaping the careers education delivered locally in our schools and fuelling the aspirations of young people for local jobs and apprentices. Organisations are able to showcase and promote routes into their organisations directly to young people who are attaining skills and qualifications that business needs.

Oak Grove College

In the first year of the EAN, Oak Grove College was identified as the SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) college to be invited to join the network.

Rebecca Tonks is the Enterprise Adviser for the college and has been working with them for the last few months. Rebecca has recently sold her music business and has also done some business education delivery with Young Enterprise as well as having a background in recruitment, training and sales. She has worked with a number of SEND groups and individuals as part of her music business.

“I was delighted to be asked to be Enterprise Adviser for Oak Grove College. I am passionate about giving all young people the very best opportunities in life and being able to use my experience and provide support for the college is a real privilege.”

The journey so far..

Georgina introduced Rebecca to Philip Potter, Head of the College, and his team Carol, David and Laura. They talked through the work of the Careers and Enterprise Company and how that could translate to provide the best support for young people with SEND. Rebecca and the Senior Leadership Team at the college worked together to audit the current enterprise provision in the college in order to scope the creation of a careers education strategy that would provide the most value for their students and teachers.

The college is already doing some great work including their Plant Sale which runs for two weeks every year and involves many of the students in different roles. Some help to grow the plants in the college nursery, some help to sell them and many of the students work in the café. The café is a great resource that is open to the public during the sale. The young people prepare and serve the food which gives them great experience in dealing with others as well as helping with their numeracy skills.

Building on this, the college have signed up to do the Team Programme with Young Enterprise. The programme is aimed at 14 – 19 year olds who have mild to moderate learning difficulties or are studying for Entry Level or Level 1 qualifications. A team of students form their own company and run it for one or two years under the guidance of their teacher, local business volunteer and Young Enterprise Manager. Each student takes on a job role and works as part of a team to be responsible for an area of business such as Finance, Sales or Marketing.

Philip Potter is delighted with the work so far and says “Being involved with the Coast to Capital EAN and Rebecca is giving our students a greater range of choices in preparation for the world of work and independent living. The activities planned will have a huge impact on their ability to get work in an industry where they can really excel.”

Rebecca is also supporting the excellent work being done by David Alderton who is responsible for organising the work placement opportunities for the students. Together they are planning to expand on the number of placement opportunities. “We would love to speak with local employers to discuss how a young person with SEND would be a real asset to their business.”

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