Schools and colleges are getting behind the new West of England Careers Hub to help improve career opportunities for young people and forge closer ties with businesses.
The Careers Hub will initially work with 25 schools and colleges from across Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. The schools and colleges will be supported to improve career opportunities and work experience for young people, allowing them to make more informed choices about their future careers. The Hub is managed by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
The Careers Hub will offer targeted support to schools including up to £3,500 per year to use on opportunities to strengthen links with employers, access to a Hub Network Group which will build a community of good practice between schools, support from an Enterprise Co-ordinator and Enterprise Advisors; Careers Leader Training and Continuing Professional Development for wider teaching staff
WECA secured £220,000 from The Careers & Enterprise Company to establish the new Careers Hub, which was launched on Thursday 20 September. Additional funds for the Hub have been provided by WECA, the LEP and Future Quest.
Tim Bowles, West of England Mayor, said: “I was honoured to launch the new Careers Hub and to meet the schools’ and colleges’ careers teams in order to learn more about how they plan to work with businesses to improve the opportunities open to young people in our region. It’s clear to see the enthusiasm and determination from everyone involved to help achieve the best outcomes for our young people.
“We need the right skills for businesses now and into the future and we must encourage young people to realise their potential. The new Careers Hub will ensure young people have more opportunities to explore the world of work and meet potential future employers. Evidence shows that if a student has four or more opportunities to engage with an employer, they are more likely to secure employment, and earn more during their career.”
Claudia Harris, Chief Executive of the Careers & Enterprise Company, said: “We’re excited by the potential impact of the Hubs. If employers, schools and colleges can better prepare young people for the world of work, we’re not just benefiting the future economy, but improving prospects for thousands of young people.”
Chair of the West of England LEP, Prof Steve West, said: “The new Careers Hub will play a key role in the long-term success of our region’s economy, building on the success of our existing Enterprise Advisor Network, and strong partnerships schools, colleges, and businesses to ensure young people get timely and relevant careers advice and meaningful work experience. This will help lead to improved employment opportunities for our region’s businesses in the future.”
Heidi Bell-West, Assistant Headteacher at Hayesfield Girls’ School and Mixed Sixth Form, in Bath, said: “Our motto, ‘Achieving Ambitions’, is at the heart of all that we do at Hayesfield Girls’ School and Mixed Sixth Form. Thus, we are delighted to be a Lead School in the West of England Careers Hub and we are looking forward to working with other schools to best improve the career provision for all students across the region.
“Under the guidance of the Careers Hub we will create a strong community of schools that will work closely with the Enterprise Coordinators and Advisers to achieve all 8 Gatsby Benchmarks. We will aim to provide life-changing opportunities to students in our local and regional communities by engaging local employers and opening up the world of employment to all young people in Bath and its surrounding areas.”
Joe Docherty, Principal at Oasis Academy Brightstowe, in Bristol, said: “We are very excited about being part of the Careers Hub as it is essential for developing student aspiration in our area of the city. Students who are focussed on their future and know the different opportunities available to them are much more likely to reach their full potential at school and then go on to greater things. The Careers Hub will help us to inspire a future generation and support our students on their journey into the working world.
“We know that the Gatsby Benchmarks are the standard of excellence for careers learning and experiences, and although Oasis Brightstowe already has strong provision across these areas, we are excited to get further support through the Careers Hub to make our offer even stronger. The Enterprise Advisor work, the Careers Leader Training, and the virtual wallets will all help ensure that not only will our pupils get the best provision we can provide, but that we can also support the other schools in our Oasis family to do the same for their pupils.”
James Wilmot, Director of Careers, Education, Advice and Guidance, at the Priory Learning Trust, North Somerset, said: “Any opportunity for schools to share best practice can only be a good thing. Enterprise Advisors can provide Career Practitioners and their students vital labour market information and insight into the world of work. The Careers Hub will provide Careers Practitioners with ongoing CPD and training. The Hub will be of particular benefit to schools without a dedicated Careers Advisor or are only recently creating a careers programme. For established Careers Advisors, the Hub will I hope provide a platform for further networking to help enhance their established careers programmes even further.”
Kim Garland, Headteacher of Brimsham Green School, South Gloucestershire, said, “We are very fortunate to be part of WECA’s Careers Hub, alongside 24 other schools and colleges. The Gatsby Benchmarks, the gold standard of Careers’ Education, are central to the work of the Hub. In particular Brimsham students will benefit from an increased number of ‘employer encounters’ and increased access to a diverse range of workplaces. Our assigned Enterprise Co-ordinator will play a big part in this, alongside providing high quality CPD to staff. We cannot wait to get started!”