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Somerset Chamber members inform Education Business Partnership

Andrew Hanson, Education Business Partnership Manager has been listening to Chamber members to understand the skills issues they face and the support they require to address these.

Businesses across sectors as diverse as engineering, health care, professional services and hospitality have all expressed skills shortages. Concerns range from the ability to recruit skilled employees now, to developing a future talent pipeline – and of course the investment required for this. The Education Business Partnership will bring businesses and training providers together to develop solutions to meet these needs.

Businesses have also signalled their willingness to work with schools, colleges and training providers to raise awareness of their industry sector – and the aspirations of young people to join it. There are many opportunities to engage with schools in your area – from providing inspirational talks to small groups of students, to helping with mock interviews or offering workplace visits.

If you would like to engage with your local schools to inspire your future workforce please contact Andrew or read our ‘Quick Guide to Engaging with Education’ below.

Quick Guide to Engaging with Education

Engaging with schools may not solve the immediate skills needs of your business – but it is crucial to raise the profile of your business amongst your future workforce and those who are advising them. Investing a little time now in building a strong relationship with schools can reduce future recruitment cost and effort. Here are some pointers to help you get started:

Who to contact
1. All secondary schools are required to have a name Careers Leader – and from September this person’s contact details should be on the school website. If you don’t already know relevant colleagues in the school, then start by asking for the Careers Leader – or the person who looks after careers advice.

When to make contact
2. School careers activity is often planned 6 months to a year ahead, so that timetables and teaching cover can be organised. October is often a good time to contact schools to discuss involvement during the academic year.

How you can help

At school

3. inspiration – by telling groups of students about the opportunities in your industry sector, and how they can prepare themselves to get in and get on. This raises aspirations – and may trigger an interest in a future employee!

4. challenge – schools often hold ‘enterprise events’ setting groups of students work related challenges. Providing feedback from an employer perspective can be really beneficial.

5. Preparation – schools often offer students ‘mock interviews’ so they are better prepared for the real thing. Taking part in these gives you an insight into young people’s communication styles and also hones your interviewing skills

At your workplace

6. Inspiration – hosting a short workplace visit showcases the opportunities in your sector and can help young people identify if this a career they would like to pursue. It can also help you to dispel any prevailing myths about your industry

7. Preparation – offering a longer period of work experience helps young people gain a real understanding of what is required in the workplace. If you have recruitment needs you can also use this opportunity to gauge the skills of young people without a formal interview situation. If you are interested in offering work experience or placements please contact Andrew Hanson.

Andrew Hanson
Somerset Education Business Partnership Manager

T: 01823 785440
M: 07912 264531

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