Could you help our region’s schools to inspire the next generation of employees? Then the West of England’s Enterprise Adviser Network needs you – to help improve careers education and advice for young people.
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 around 30 Enterprise Advisers linked with schools across Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire but more are needed.
In a new series of video interviews, business people, entrepreneurs, and professionals from across the region have been sharing their stories about why they volunteer some of their time to help improve young people’s career opportunities.
Training is provided and it is 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.
Regional Mayor Tim Bowles said: “It’s terrific to see how our volunteer Enterprise Advisers are also benefiting professionally from being part of the West of England Enterprise Adviser Network – as well as helping to improve careers education.
“Through working with our schools and colleges, Enterprise Advisers can make a big impact on young people’s lives. We are committed to giving young people every opportunity to secure employment, and our Enterprise Advisers are an important part of making this happen.”
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.
Business leaders who are already part of the Enterprise Adviser Network say they find volunteering is hugely rewarding. They have shared their experiences in a series of video interviews:
Diversity of support for Kings Oak School in South Gloucestershire
Voluntary sector consultant Sibusiso Tshabalala joined the Enterprise Adviser Network to build the confidence of young people to take up science and technology subjects – improving their opportunities to gain access to future careers and reducing the skills gap in the local labour market. He said it has also been a great way to network and meet other industry leaders. Sibusiso, the director for Cognitive Paths, said: “The schools definitely benefit from getting industry insight. What they get is diversity of thought, diversity of approach in terms of dealing with different businesses. When they engage with SMEs or someone from a different sector, they get a whole new variety of business people that can come and motivate young people. That’s really part of the benefits that we’re able to add on top of the great work that schools already do.”
Overcoming challenges for local businesses with Clevedon School in North Somerset
Paul Anslow, owner of Triangle Networks, who works with Clevedon School, said: “I became an Enterprise Adviser – as a local businessman – to help support the local schools in understanding what some of the challenges are for local businesses and how we can work with young people in overcoming those challenges. I believe anyone in business – large or small – should become an Enterprise Adviser. It’s a thoroughly rewarding team and a thoroughly rewarding network of people who really want to make a difference and who are really making change happen. I’ve certainly enjoyed it a great deal.”
Helping Redland Green School in Bristol develop its careers plan
Elaine Brown, director of Elaine Brown Projects Ltd and part-time project manager for UWE Bristol, said: “The best thing about being an Enterprise Adviser is being part of an effective network that’s really demonstrating impact and to really help make a difference to the school that you’re working with. It’s a fantastic opportunity to put something back into the community and bring your skills, knowledge and expertise and really help schools to develop their careers plan. They really need that expertise, advice and dedicated support to make it available to everyone.”
Business networking with Gordano and Backwell schools in North Somerset, and Chew Valley School in Bath and North East Somerset
Chris Bull, management consultant, said: “Working with the teachers, Careers Advisers, the young people themselves and the other Enterprise Advisers in a network – which we do in the West of England – is great experience. One of the really key things that we can all bring as volunteers is making those connections easier and trying to articulate and embed into schools an understanding about the way business and the world of employment works today.”
The video testimonials from the Enterprise Advisers are available to watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/HbJmhh1Zqt0. They are also being shared across Twitter and LinkedIn with the hashtag #WestofEnglandEAN.