Seven major employers have signed up to help young people in the West of England prepare for the fast-changing world of work.
Babcock, Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), The Cabinet Office, Hargreaves Lansdown, Edwards Vacuum, Galliford Try and Womble Bond Dickinson have all partnered with the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Careers & Enterprise Company to become Cornerstone Employers in the West of England Careers Hub.
They will invest time and resources to support local schools and colleges with their careers education to help inspire future generations. Young people who have regular, meaningful contact with employers while at school are more likely to find employment or pursue further education or training, according to research.
The Cornerstone Employers will work closely with The Careers & Enterprise Company, WECA and LEP and the West of England Enterprise Adviser Network, a network of volunteers from the world of business who are each matched to a local school to support their careers activity.
Together, they aim to ensure that all young people across the region have access to regular, meaningful engagement with employers and gain the vital experiences of the workplace they need to help them make informed choices about their futures.
Cornerstone Employers act as champions to encourage new businesses in the area to get involved in supporting schools and colleges, as well as encouraging their own staff to become volunteer Enterprise Advisers.
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. Therefore it’s great to welcome our seven new Cornerstone Employers – and we hope they will inspire more businesses and organisations to come forward and support us to help our young people.”
Babcock was the first business to sign up to become a Cornerstone Employer. Mike Homer, Babcock MD at Devonport Royal Dockyard, said: “It is essential that we enthuse, educate and support young people about the diverse range of career options available to them, because this will help ensure they make the right choices and better enable them to develop to their full potential. Babcock already has a well-established STEM engagement programme in place across the region, and to be named a Cornerstone Employer is fantastic news as we continue with our drive to inspire future engineers.”
The West of England Careers Hub 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.
Professor Steve West, Chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “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.”
Claudia Harris, CEO at The Careers & Enterprise Company, said: “We are delighted to have these employers committing to helping schools and colleges in the West of England. All young people deserve great careers education, to inspire them, support their aspirations and prepare them for the fast-changing world of work.
“Employers need to be at heart of that, so young people can learn first-hand about the careers and industries that are open to them. We are very grateful to all the employers for their ongoing support and commitment to helping the young people in the area prepare for their future careers.”
WECA and the LEP also work with other partners including West of England Works, Business in the Community, Ablaze and Skills West to improve employment opportunities across the region.