Published: October 26th, 2016
More than 40 business leaders celebrated the launch of an initiative in Telford which will see schools and employers join forces to help develop the workforce of the future.
Representatives from companies across the borough and the wider Marches area attended the launch of the Careers & Enterprise Company’s "Enterprise Adviser Network". The initiative is aimed at building stronger guidance-based relationships between businesses, schools and colleges so that young people are equipped with the knowledge to effectively develop their workplace skills.
Held at Enginuity in Coalbrookdale, the event focused on the important role that businesses have in ensuring that young people have access to the right careers advice at the right time, and the impact that access to business leaders who take on Enterprise Adviser roles can have on young people.
Speaking at the event, Dr Floyd Millen, Head of Operation Delivery at the Careers & Enterprise Company, commented on the importance of integrating business and skills.
"It’s great that this is happening here and now. As someone who grew up a few miles away and now lives in the south east, I’m pleased that the Marches LEP and Telford & Wrekin Council have demonstrated their commitment to bringing businesses and schools together in a way that will provide young people with transformative, life changing experiences. It is, therefore, a pleasure to be here at the official launch of the Enterprise Adviser Network."
Drawn from across the public, private and third sectors, senior business people who become Enterprise Advisers will provide advice to school and college heads on how to effectively engage local businesses in the development of careers and enterprise plans.
Paul Hinkins, Deputy Chair of the Marches LEP, was also at the launch and highlighted why closer ties between business and education are so important – especially in an area like the Marches:
"The Marches covers a diverse geography of rural, semi-rural and urban but shares many of the same barriers as the other 38 LEP regions: namely those of a skills void and an ageing workforce.
"Here in the Marches, there are too many people in the 16-54 age bracket that leave to pursue careers elsewhere – we need to prevent that from continuing by encouraging young people to realise their potential with businesses already based here and those which will invest in the region in the coming years.
"We know that 44% of employers in the Marches see a lack of skills as a barrier to growth and that 45% of employers found it a challenge to recruit in the last year. With those facts in mind, the introduction of the CEC Enterprise Advisers should be warmly welcomed.
"This initiative encourages businesses to go into schools and tell young people the options open to them – an approach which helps us retain our home grown talent. It also helps us to identify how to help schools and colleges navigate a fast-changing careers landscape and to give students the best chance of reaching their full potential by providing friendly, strategic advice and guidance. I’d strongly encourage all businesses in the region to consider how they could contribute to this this."
The launch event also included input from John Gallagher, Vice President at Cap Gemini and Katherine Kynaston, Assistant Director of Business, Development & Employment at Telford & Wrekin Council.
Anyone interested in finding out how they could get involved as a volunteer business adviser should contact [email protected]