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Sharing North East skills practice internationally

Visitors from across the UK and as far afield as Hong Kong have been in the North East to learn how the region is leading the way improving careers education for young people.

Michelle Rainbow, Skills Director at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, explains how developing closer links between schools and employers is having a positive impact on outcomes for pupils.

This month the North East LEP skills team has hosted visitors from the UK and Hong Kong, with the aim of sharing what we’ve learnt about embedding engagement with employers into the classroom and improving careers guidance for young people.

A delegation of representatives from Hong Kong’s education sector joined education specialists from Rhondda Cynon Taf Education, Employment and Training team in Wales on a two-day visit to the North East. The aim of the visit was to share what we’ve learnt about working with schools, colleges and local employers to deliver outstanding careers education to each and every young person in our region.

We also hosted a visit from colleagues from across the country as part of our role as Cornerstone Hub partnering with the Careers & Enterprise Company. Our hubs not only support North East schools and colleges to achieve the benchmarks but we also have a role to play nationally, learning from and supporting Careers Hubs in other regions in implementing the benchmarks in their own regions.

The North East is leading the way in careers education and employer engagement. In 2015 we were the first region to pilot the Gatsby Career Benchmarks in schools and as a result we demonstrated the huge impact these benchmarks can have in schools and on outcomes for young people, really helping pupils to understand how what they learn in the classroom applies to their future careers.

The benchmarks have now become part of Government’s national careers strategy, meaning that schools and colleges elsewhere in the country are keen to learn from the North East LEP about how we have engaged schools and colleges with the benchmarks and how we continue to support their delivery.

We have also established a successful Enterprise Adviser programme, partnering North East schools with business leaders who volunteer their expertise to help shape careers education and strengthen the relationship between our education and business sectors.

Our visitors from Hong Kong and Wales visited Studio West school in Newcastle and Harton Academy in South Shields to meet staff and students and hear first-hand about the difference this employer engagement and the Gatsby Career Benchmarks have made to them. 

I’m extremely proud the North East is recognised nationally and internationally as an example of best practice in delivering careers guidance. It’s testament to the impact the Gatsby Career Benchmarks have that so many countries across the world want to match our success.

This success is down to the hard work by our schools and colleges but also the time and expertise that has been given by North East businesses, who have been instrumental in helping us to drive forward our skills, employability and inclusion programmes which are vital to improving life for people in the North East.

Find out more about the North East LEP’s work with schools, colleges and employers in the region.