Young people across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire at risk of becoming Not in Education Employment or Training (NEET) have been able to benefit from a range of employability activities thanks to the Careers Local Enterprise Grants initiative which has recently come to an end.
These grants, funded by the European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency, allowed schools to tap into a wealth of support and expertise aimed at encouraging 15 to 19 year olds to consider their career options and develop skills for the workplace.
As an approved provider, we supported over 43 schools with a wide range of activities including employability and career guidance support and employer interactions. It was inspiring to see the enthusiasm of the students taking part in activities such as ‘What’s My Line?’, ‘Know Your Potential Employer’ and ‘The Apprentice Project’ where some magnificent creations were made by the young people!
Over 7,000 students took part in these sessions and in addition to these, our careers practitioners saw many students for one-to-one guidance interviews. Comments from students included “I have a better understanding of my skills abilities and interests” and “It was nice to talk to somebody and actually reflect on what my goals are.”
All of our employability sessions, and Careers Local is no different, rely on the support of our fantastic employer ambassadors who give up their time to support the sessions in schools. We’re lucky to be able to work with ambassadors from a broad range of sectors and we know that they get a lot out of meeting the young people – we also know they are impressed with all of the potential talent they meet that will be joining the labour market soon.
Lots of schools took up the opportunity to use the Careers Local funding for staff development: we spent over 900 hours on consultancy and mentoring support for Careers Leaders and nearly 470 hours on school staff CPD and training sessions including support with improving careers and LMI provision. We are also now working with 16 schools on The Quality in Careers Standard (QiCS). Staff commented that this provided: ”understanding of what we are doing already and how we can better record and monitor this”, “insight into where we are as an organisation in relation to Gatsby Benchmarks” and “[A] great opportunity to hear colleagues’ ideas and think about the importance of informing students well and without influence.”
All of the employability interactions, guidance sessions, staff development and support around careers information, Gatsby Benchmarks and QiCS are part of our continuous offer to schools and we look forward to continuing our work with many and forging new relationships with others.