Bridging the gap between the worlds of education and employment has, for years, been a real problem. All too often, young people are doing well, working hard, gaining qualifications but at the end of it all are simply unable to find employment, often being overlooked because they just don’t have the relevant skills that businesses are looking for.
It’s one thing attracting investment and big companies to the area, but if there’s a lack of skills and knowledge locally, then employers will simply employ people from further afield.
We’ve been saying for years that schools and colleges should be talking with companies to find out what skills they are looking for in the short term and (importantly) – in the long term too. This would mean that school leavers and college graduates would leave the education system equipped with skills that are tailor made to local employers, having a better understanding of what local businesses are looking for.
Well, common sense has prevailed, with the emergence of a fantastic scheme aimed at marrying up schools and colleges with local businesses.
The Careers Enterprise Adviser Network pairs voluntary enterprise advisers (employers that sign up to the scheme) with schools and colleges, meaning that businesses can have a voice within the education system by drawing on their own local business networks.
It’s a scheme that has been run nationally for the last 18 months and Inspira (funded by the Careers Enterprise Company and supported by the LEP) have been running it in Cumbria since June.
It’s not a recruitment tool as such, it provides an insight into opportunities like apprenticeships and how students can make contacts in the business world. CV and skill building and work experience will also be on the agenda.
It’s hoped that the scheme will reduce the amount of young people in Cumbria who are NEET - not in employment, education or training. So far 20 schools and businesses in Cumbria have signed up to the scheme, and it’s hoped that eventually every school in Cumbria will have an enterprise advisor who will be supported by a team to help schools work towards addressing the skills gap that currently exists.
Any businesses or employers looking to get involved and sign up as advisers should contact Melanie Carr at Melanie.firstname.lastname@example.org.