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LEP encourages collaboration on careers guidance

Ryan Gibson, Facilitator for the Career Benchmarks Pilot at the North East LEP, explains how the LEP is helping to bring the education and business sectors together in the North East.

I’m a firm believer that good communication is the key to successful partnerships. Talking, sharing ideas, understanding our different perspectives and collaborating where possible helps us to think differently and develop new, smarter, ways of doing things.

That’s why as part of my role at the North East LEP, we’ve brought those organisations, that already do a fantastic job linking education and business, together to raise awareness of what each other does and to help schools, colleges and businesses navigate the space more effectively to improve the impact of careers education in the North East.

In one of the first events of its kind in the region, over 30 different organisations that work to link education and business came together to discuss how working in partnership could help achieve our collective aim to transform the quality of careers guidance.

Those organisations were:

Business in the Community
North East Chamber of Commerce
The Careers & Enterprise Company
National Careers Service
National Contact Centre
Think Physics
Esh Group
TICE – This Is Creative Enterprise
Princes Trust
Engineering UK
Young Enterprise
Health Education England
The Wise Group
Rising Star
STEM Learning
Royal Town Planning Institute
Primary Engineer
Career Ready
British Engines
The Engineering Development Trust
Fair Train
The Key
Dynamo North East
Youth Focus: North East
My Best School Trip
National Citizen Service

We were also joined by colleagues from each of the local authorities across the LEP area, who provided updates on exciting initiatives they are working on such as the labour market information portal in North Tyneside, Work Discovery Sunderland, Work Ready Newcastle and The Exchange in South Tyneside. Education Business Partnerships from Durham and Northumberland spoke about the work they do and Gateshead advised on the new structures they are developing. It was great to see representatives from local authorities at the meeting as they have an important part to play in helping to facilitate the partnership working that is key to the project’s success.

I had the pleasure of chairing the meeting on behalf of the North East LEP on what was a truly inspiring day of debate, discussion and shared ambition to improve links between the education and business sectors.

Using the ‘Career Benchmarks’ (outlined in the Gatsby Foundation’s ‘Good Career Guidance Report‘) as a basis for our discussion, each organisation talked about their area of work and how they could help schools/colleges implement and achieve the eight benchmarks of good career guidance in the North East.

This first meeting is just the start of the process. What we hope to achieve in the long term is to help people navigate the careers education space more efficiently and effectively, connect them with the right support and use the Career Benchmarks to improve students’ transition from school to work.

One of the key learnings from the day was that while there are many fantastic organisations working to bring education and business together in the North East, the choice can often be overwhelming for schools. There is a need to provide schools and colleges with additional guidance to help them identify which organisations they can partner with to meet their individual needs. In our role, leading the national career benchmarks pilot at the North East LEP, we will be working with partners to developing signposting resources so that education, business and the organisations that link education to business can make maximum impact on young people.

Liam Weatherill, Regional Coordinator for the Engineering Development Trust said, “I found [the meeting] thoroughly enjoyable and very innovative as I had not been to an event that brought together the major players in external future support for schools/businesses in the North East in my time with the Engineering Development Trust. It was good to talk and develop some of the themes and I look forward to future working.”

There was also agreement that many organisations could work together. It was fantastic to see new partnerships form and willing from everyone around the table to work collaboratively where possible.

The next step will be to collate all the skills and services on offer in the North East into a comprehensive resource for schools and colleges. We’ll be able to match these opportunities to the Career Benchmarks ensuring we’re delivering the best possible careers education in the North East to meet the needs of young people, schools, colleges and businesses.

If you’d like to know more about the LEP’s work in this area I’d love to hear from you, [email protected]

Ryan Gibson
Facilitator for the Careers Benchmark Pilot at the North East LEP