Local businesses and schools called on to work together

Businesses and schools in the area are being urged to work more closely together to address the employment gap.

The appeal came at the recent Employability Skills Conference which was organised by D2N2 Enterprise Advisor Network and Destination Chesterfield, to address the mismatch between employment opportunities in Chesterfield and North Derbyshire and the number of young people coming forward to fill them.

While apprenticeship opportunities in the area have increased, a recent D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership report suggests that only 48% of schools are organising visits to local apprenticeship providers, leaving employers struggling to fill apprenticeship vacancies.

The first ever Employability Skills Conference was attended by more than 80 people, including headteachers and representatives from local authorities, training providers and employers in the area. It aimed to build stronger links between schools and employers to develop the employability skills through the D2N2 Employability Framework that young people need to be successful in their first steps into employment.

Kam Grewal-Joy, Headteacher Parkside community School, Chesterfield, spoke at the conference. She said: “I welcomed the opportunity to speak at the conference to highlight the many benefits of schools linking with employers to prepare children for the world of work.  We are always looking to expand the many links we already have with local employers to provide students a new experience.

“At Parkside the learn to work strategy is at the core of our work with young people and their families.  Our mission is to work in partnership with others to equip children with the skills, attitudes and qualifications needed to secure successful careers and to become responsible adults in the future.”

The conference was organised by Gail Widerman, Director of Placing Futures Ltd, a partner of the D2N2’s Employability Framework, in association with Destination Chesterfield and funded through the Careers and Enterprise Company and D2N2.

Gail Widerman commented: “We work with both schools and businesses and more and more employers are telling us that they want work ready young people.  I am delighted that so many schools and businesses came on board with Chesterfield’s first Employability Skills Conference and are taking a joint approach to finding a solution and giving young people a very real future in industry.”

Dom Stevens, Destination Chesterfield Manager explained: “The conference brought together the education and business communities to address the perceived and real skills gaps before they become an issue. With more than £1billion of investment happening in Chesterfield over the next 10 years it is vital that our young people are work ready and have the skills that employers want. Having a pool of work ready employees is one of the key reasons businesses invest in an area and create jobs.”

At the conference Made in Chesterfield, the annual month-long celebration of the town’s manufacturing and engineering sector organised by Destination Chesterfield, was praised for bringing schools and employers together. A call was also made for business people to get involved with governor roles at local schools.

To find out more about the D2N2 Employability Framework go to: http://www.d2n2lep.org/skills/employability-framework