Across the North East, partnerships have been formed between people working in sectors from marketing to manufacturing and their local school or college. Michelle Rainbow, Skills Director at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP) explains how the Enterprise Adviser network works, and how it’s survived the pandemic.
Enterprise Advisers are people who’ve signed up to help the senior management team at their local school or college better align careers guidance with what businesses need.
At the start of 2020, we had a fantastic network of 250 people who have volunteered to share their knowledge to help bridge the gap between education and industry. This happens by embedding careers in the curriculum and giving young people real-world experience of the workplace.
But when the pandemic hit, businesses were under such pressure that we thought we may lose the entire network. However, we were absolutely delighted and surprised that the majority of our Enterprise Advisers were able to continue and we’re really grateful for their contributions.
The activities our Enterprise Advisers have been able to help their schools undertake during COVID have been extraordinary and, for a generation of young people who will see the lasting effect of COVID on their employment opportunities, it’s been so important that the North East business community has continued to support them and help them see the opportunities that are out there when they leave education.
At St Robert of Newminster Catholic School in Washington, our Enterprise Adviser, Carole White, who is CEO at TEDCO Business Support, secured 10 businesses to meet year 10 pupils and tell them about careers in their sector. While at Bishop Auckland College, employability skills workshops and virtual work experience was put in place by the college’s Enterprise Adviser from Bowmer & Kirkland construction.
Businesses in our region genuinely want to give back to the local community and help young people build a brighter future and I want to thank every person who’s already helped make a difference through the Enterprise Adviser network, especially throughout the pandemic.
Now we’re wanting to grow our Enterprise Adviser network even further. We’re looking for people of any age, from businesses in any sector and of any size, who want to help schools give young people a better experience of careers guidance. We recognise one size doesn’t fit all and people have different amount of time to commit, so whether you’re a one-man-band or a multinational company, we can work something out to suit you.
We want all young people across the North East to have the opportunity to interact with businesses and employers. It gives them something that’s tangible in terms of understanding future career options and just one interaction, like a visit to your workplace, or the chance to work on a real-life project with an employer like you, can be the trigger that helps a young person see a future for themselves in your business.
Find out about being an Enterprise Adviser at NorthEastAmbition.co.uk.