More young people across the region will be inspired and better prepared for the world of work, thanks to the expansion of the West of England Careers Hub.
The Careers Hub was launched by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in September 2018, to initially work with 25 schools and colleges across Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
Thanks to a successful start, the Hub has now been awarded a further £166,000 from the Careers & Enterprise Company, allowing it to work with all 70 mainstream schools and colleges across the West of England.
Six Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) schools will also become part of the Careers Hub, with the support of the National Grid.
The schools and colleges will be supported to improve knowledge and understanding of career opportunities and experiences of the workplace for young people, allowing them to make more informed choices about their future careers.
Tim Bowles, West of England Mayor, said: “We’re really pleased to be extending our Careers Hub to every school and college, including special schools.
“The Hub works to improve careers advice and work experience for pupils, inspiring them to be ambitious and preparing them for their future careers.
“The Careers Hub is at the heart of my ambition for economic growth that benefits every resident. I want all our young people to realise their potential, by ensuring they know what the world of work can offer them, and have the right skills for our region’s employers.
“I’ve visited a number of the Careers Hub schools and it’s fantastic to see how we’re nurturing and developing the raw talent of our region’s young people.”
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.
Richard Bendry, Associate Senior Leader at Abbeywood Community School – which became part of the West of England Careers Hub in September 2018, said: “Careers education, information, advice and guidance has become a real focal point at Abbeywood.
“Since being supported by the Careers Hub we have been able to improve careers provision for our pupils. We have managed to do this with the support from our Enterprise Co-ordinator and Enterprise Adviser, and by sharing best practice with other schools in the Careers Hub.”
Chair of the West of England LEP, Prof Steve West, said: “The Careers Hub is about ensuring young people get timely and relevant careers advice and meaningful work experience.
“It has 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 between schools, colleges, and businesses.”
Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education, added: “It is so important that young people get to know about a range of different jobs and careers so they can see the possible opportunities out there.
“Good careers education is such a valuable asset that helps children to explore future possibilities and go on to lead happy rewarding lives.
“Careers Hubs bring together schools, colleges, universities and employers to share their expertise and improve the careers education on offer to make sure young people have the information they need to make the most of their talents.
“Today’s investment will give thousands more young people access to expert careers support as they take those first exciting steps into their future.”
Claudia Harris, CEO of The Careers & Enterprise Company, said: “Careers education is improving across the country. The accelerated progress we’re seeing in the first wave of Careers Hubs shows that this model is working and delivering for young people, with schools and colleges in this first wave of Careers Hubs already outperforming the national average across all aspects of careers education.
“We are delighted that the Government’s investment is supporting us to roll out this model to a quarter of schools and colleges in the country, helping more young people get the vital support and opportunities they need.”
The Careers Hub supports schools and colleges to maximise opportunities to strengthen links with employers; including access to a Hub Network Group to build good practice between schools; support from an Enterprise Co-ordinator and Enterprise Advisors; Careers Leader Training and professional development for teaching staff.
The Enterprise Adviser Network, managed by WECA and the LEP, aims to ensure school leavers are ready for the world of work.
There are currently around 30 volunteer Enterprise Advisers – from business backgrounds – linked with schools across Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire but more are needed.