BUSINESS MENTORS START WORK WITH SCHOOLS

PRESS RELEASE

25/10/2016

Businesses have started working in schools throughout Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay as part of a new project aiming to improve careers provision for young people.

The Enterprise Adviser Network (EAN) was unveiled in March this year and, following a recruitment campaign throughout the summer, a team of over 30 volunteer business mentors were recruited and matched with schools throughout the Heart of the South West LEP area (Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay).

Known as Enterprise Advisers, each mentor started work with their allocated school last month, helping to identify new ideas and create a bespoke action plan. Over the next year, each Enterprise Adviser will work with the school to support the development of career advice and guidance available to young people.

One of the employers involved in the project is Honiton-based ethical IT business Cosmic.

Kate Doodson, joint CEO at Cosmic, said: “This is an exciting project and Cosmic are thrilled to be a part of it. We wanted to take part because I love the idea of being able to make a lasting difference to local students. Having an external perspective from businesses, I think, will help shape and formulate an effective plan in a timeframe that will impact on students’ aspiration for years to come.”

Stephen Criddle, Chair of the Enterprise Adviser Steering Group, Principal of South Devon College and HotSW LEP Board Member said: “The Enterprise Adviser Network is an important project – having an external business perspective will help schools to better contextualise their career guidance, and help young people to make more informed decisions about their future.

“We know that students who experience regular employer contact whilst at school have much better career prospects and that is one of our main aims.”

Steve Hindley, Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP, said: “This project will not only help young people and schools, but will also help the economy of the area, helping to address skills shortages and make steps to fill these gaps.”

Schools have been selected according to a number of criteria, including exam results, the number of pupils receiving free school meals and the numbers of school leavers not in education, employment or training (NEETS).

Funding for the project was secured by HotSW LEP, in conjunction with the four upper tier local authorities. The Enterprise Adviser Network encourages employers and schools to work together to support young people in making informed choices about their future careers.

CSW Group is contracted to provide the service, which is being funded by the Careers and Enterprise Company, Devon County Council, Somerset County Council, Plymouth City Council and Torbay Development Agency.

Employers are still being encouraged to apply, as the aim is to roll out the project to all schools as additional funding becomes available. A total of 36 schools throughout the Heart of the South West area are taking part in the project initially.

To find out more visit www.heartofswlep.co.uk/easapply

ENDS

Notes to Editors

For media enquiries about the Enterprise Adviser Scheme, please contact Emma Parker Reynolds at Coast emma@coastmarcoms.co.uk / 07944 360631 or the Coast main office on 01579 352600.

For all other media enquiries about the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, please contact Communications Manager, Helena Davison 07525 806333 helena.davison@heartofswlep.co.uk

To view the current list of schools, please visit: www.heartofswlep.co.uk/ean

 ** Pictures attached of Kate Doodson and case study below **

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Case Study
Enterprise Adviser Network: Kate Doodson, Cosmic

The Enterprise Adviser Network is a programme designed to encourage businesses and schools to work together to support young people in making informed choices about their future careers. The programme launched in the spring of 2016 and the first Enterprise Advisers will begin work in schools in September 2016.

Kate Doodson, joint CEO at ethical IT business Cosmic, explains why she has signed up as one of the first business mentors on this new programme:

“I chose my first career whilst I was still at school. I really enjoyed maths and physics, so I wanted to be an engineer. I decided on Civil Engineering as I wanted to work outdoors.

“I attended Notre Dame School in Plymouth and at the time the careers advice was patchy. I remember we did a questionnaire once about which career suited you the most. It came out as computer science or teaching. This is very close to what I’m doing now!

“My second career, in IT, started when I moved to Devon and decided to explore IT. I’ve now been in the industry for over 15 years.

“My IT career began with me working on a large website, which took over 12 months to develop. This taught me a lot about the web industry and site design and development. The industry changes quickly, so the business is all about keeping up with news, trends and developments.

“As I run the operations side of the business, my key responsibilities are managing the team, keeping an eye on our finances, planning for our future and creating and developing relationships. So not so much engineering or technology application in my day job now!

“I also spend time lecturing on digital futures and tech, which means I keep up to date with technology. This is useful for me to bring back into the business too

“I wanted to take part in this project because I love the idea of being able to make a difference to a local school.

“Just allowing the school space to think about careers advice and guidance will help them. Also, having another person’s perspective – particularly someone who is external to the school and has a business perspective – will help shape and formulate an effective plan.

“I also believe that I can help by bringing in digital solutions to support decisions.”

“We are at the very beginning of the process now, so it is difficult to see what the challenges may be, but I expect engaging other businesses may be tricky.

“I’m really looking forward to the project as I love working in schools: Cosmic works in schools offering tech support, so we are often in and out of schools, but we don’t get the chance to work on enterprise.”

To find out more about the project visit: www.heartofswlep.co.uk/ean

To find out more about Cosmic, visit: www.cosmic.org.uk

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About the Careers and Enterprise Service

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership’s (HotSW LEP) Enterprise Adviser Service is designed to encourage links between schools and business. The aim is to encourage businesses to work together with schools to support young people in making choices about their future career.

Initially the project will run in 36 schools across the Heart of the South area, covering Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay.

CSW Group is contracted to provide the service, which is being funded by the Careers and Enterprise Company, Devon County Council, Somerset County Council, Plymouth City Council and Torbay Development Agency.

To find out more, please visit www.heartofswlep.co.uk/ean

About HotSW LEP

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP) is a strong and dynamic business-led partnership between the private sector, local authorities, universities and further education colleges across Somerset, Devon, Plymouth and Torbay. HotSW LEP’s purpose is to lead and influence economic growth, job creation and prosperity across the Heart of the South West. More information is available at www.heartofswlep.co.uk

About the CSW Group

CSW Group are transition management specialists. We offer information, guidance and support to people and organisations as they move through different stages of their lives. We are a not-for-profit social enterprise; we reinvest any operating surpluses into new products and services, organisational development, and community based projects across the country.

Over 20 years we’ve uncovered learning and work opportunities for hundreds of people. Motivated by the belief that support means more than just a shoulder to lean on; our 200-strong team gives every individual their unfaltering attention.

Owned collectively by Cornwall, Devon County, Plymouth City and Torbay councils, we also build connections with a wealth of organisations bringing our joined-up services to communities across the South West. Acting as a not-for-profit social enterprise with an independent board of directors, anything we make, we reinvest back into communities across the South West. www.cswgroup.co.uk

About The Careers & Enterprise Company

The Careers & Enterprise Company is a government backed organisation launched to ‘join the dots’ in careers and enterprise provision across England. Its work is focused on research by Sir John Holman showing that for young people to have the best chance of successfully entering work, they should leave education having had:

  •  Encounters with employers, workplaces and higher and further education to inspire them about their future
  •  Information to understand their options
  •  Support to plan for a fulfilling and successful career.

The Company partnered with LEPs to create the Enterprise Adviser network and connect senior business volunteers with schools and colleges. The network will allocate every school in England its own Enterprise Adviser who will galvanise local careers and enterprise programmes and employers, making it simpler for businesses to engage with schools. They in turn are supported by Enterprise Coordinators who work with clusters of 20 schools to help them access the best local employers and programmes such as inspirational speakers and CV workshops. For further information: www.careersandenterprise.co.uk

Notes to Editors

For media enquiries about the Enterprise Adviser Scheme, please contact Emma Parker Reynolds at Coast emma@coastmarcoms.co.uk / 07944 360631 or the Coast main office on 01579 352600.

For all other media enquiries about the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, please contact Communications Manager, Helena Davison 07525 806333 helena.davison@heartofswlep.co.uk

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About Us

The Heart of the South West is the Local Enterprise Partnership for Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay. Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) are new strategic partnership organisations formed under the leadership of the private sector and supported by the local authorities to create a powerful economic alliance. The Heart of the South West has already attracted more than £100 million of Government funding to kick start the areas' economy, to create new jobs, boost productivity and to improve earnings.

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