Schools, colleges and businesses are joining forces to improve career opportunities for young people with the launch of the new West of England Careers Hub.
Managed by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), 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.
WECA secured £220,000 from The Careers & Enterprise Company to establish the new Careers Hub, which will be 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’m really looking forward to launching the new Careers Hub this week. It will be great to meet the schools’ and colleges’ careers teams and learn more about how they plan to work with businesses to improve the opportunities open to young people 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. The new Careers Hub will ensure young people have more opportunities to connect with the world of work and 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.”
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 – building 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.
There are currently 49 Enterprise Advisors in the West of England, part of an Enterprise Advisor Network of trained volunteers from the local business community. They work with headteachers and school leaders, sharing their knowledge and experiences and helping to deliver better careers support and work experience opportunities. The network is looking for more professionals from local businesses to volunteer as Enterprise Advisors. If you are interested in getting involved please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.