The West of England Mayor and Deputy Mayor visited schools this week to support young people’s career opportunities, as part of National Careers Week (4 to 9 March).
Regional Mayor Tim Bowles visited Bristol’s Digitech Studio School on Tuesday, while Deputy Mayor, Cllr Tim Warren attended Writhlington School, in Radstock, on Wednesday. They joined the schools’ staff to learn more about how the West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership’s Careers Hub and Enterprise Adviser Network are helping improve career opportunities for young people.
Tim Bowles, West of England Mayor, said: “We’re working with schools, colleges and businesses to make sure that young people are aware of all the opportunities available to them in our region.
“We need the right skills for businesses now and into the future and we must encourage young people to realise their potential. Our West of England Careers Hub and Enterprise Adviser Network are helping to ensure young people have more opportunities to explore the world of work and meet potential future employers.”
Young adults who recall four or more encounters with employers while at school are likely to earn around 18 per cent more during their career than their peers who did not have the same opportunities. They are also 86 per cent less likely to become what is known as NEETs (not in employment, education or training).
Cllr Tim Warren, Deputy Mayor of the West of England, said: “With so much investment in major schemes across the region we need a workforce that can seize the skilled job opportunities available and it has been a real delight to visit schools in Bath and North East Somerset to find out about the work being done that supports young people when it comes to the kind of jobs they hope to find in the future. We have many talented students in all our schools and it is our duty to make sure they reach their full potential.”
The West of England Careers Hub, funded through the Careers & Enterprise Company, works with 25 schools and colleges from across Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. The schools and colleges are supported to improve careers opportunities and work experiences for young people, allowing them to make more informed choices about their careers.
The Enterprise Adviser Network, managed by the West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership, aims to ensure school leavers are ready for the world of work. There are currently 48 Enterprise Advisers linked with schools across Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire but more are needed.
Lis Jolley, Principal at Digitech Studio School, said: “We’re grateful to the West of England Mayor Tim Bowles for visiting us. We place careers as a very high priority at Digitech Studio School, for example, we are very proud of our Year 10 students who have just returned from a work experience placement week. We offer two work experience placements in Year 10 to give our students the best possible start to their future careers. The impact on students’ confidence and the development of employability skills is a pleasure to see when they return, and I would like to thank all the employers who offer placements to young people.”
Mark Bridges, Assistant Headteacher and Head of Sixth Form at Writhlington School, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Deputy Mayor Tim Warren to school to meet our students and hear about their experiences. We are very proud of the opportunities that we provide at Writhlington and Mendip Studio Schools and have seen first-hand the benefits of work-related learning in and outside of the classroom. The support and challenge that has been provided by the West of England Careers Hub has been invaluable and pushed us to ensure that all students have the skills, attributes and opportunities to be fully prepared for the world of work, university or apprenticeships.”
Business people, entrepreneurs, and professionals are being encouraged to volunteer some of their time to help improve career opportunities for young people in the West of England. Training is provided and it’s a great way to give something back to the community while also supporting your own professional development and raising awareness of career opportunities with potential employees. Volunteering takes no more than six hours a month.