Skills brokerage service boosts the local economy

Friday 14 September 2018

As students embark on a new academic year, The Skills Service is stepping up its mission to provide inspiration and raise aspirations for their future careers while also helping to meet the skills needs of the local economy.

Success is achieved by brokering effective relationships between businesses, schools and training providers, using these links to facilitate work-related learning activities for local secondary schools. These range from mock interviews and mentoring to careers fairs and enterprise challenges.

In the last academic year, 200 such events were delivered across the region, impacting over 28,000 students. This amounted to over 128,000 hours of careers-based education with almost 6,500 business hours contributed by local organisations. These business volunteers represented around 500 different businesses from a wide range of sectors. In addition, the team filled over 1,500 work experience placements.

The Skills Service, which is part of Opportunity Peterborough's economic development portfolio and funded by the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, works closely with schools across the region to develop a careers strategy to suit their individual needs. Using a range of tools that were created in line with government guidelines, priority is given to providing up-to-date information about the local labour market, linking the curriculum to careers, enabling multiple encounters with employers and employees, and ensuring first-hand experience of the workplace.

Recent market research carried out independently on behalf of The Skills Service highlighted the impact that the service has on both businesses and schools. Benefits specified by businesses included:

- Providing them with a talent pipeline for future recruitment
- Staff satisfaction in helping the younger generation prepare for work
- Helping to promote careers in specific sectors where schools may lack insight
- Allowing the opportunity to showcase the range of different careers within large organisations
- Offering an additional layer of support for companies who struggle to engage with schools
- Raising company profiles within the local community
- Forging closer links with the community
- Support with implementing a school engagement programme.

Some spoke of more direct impact in terms of employment, for example:

- A mock interview session led to a referral to a specific apprenticeship programme
- Strong applications were received following an apprenticeship information evening
- A work experience placement led to a casual marketing contract and some freelance work.

Benefits to schools included:

- Support with delivering the careers curriculum
- Enabling schools to offer more careers education than they would otherwise be able to
- Careers Adviser Network established for sharing best practice and updates on local, regional and national initiatives
- Invaluable in getting students engaged with the world of work
- Increased face-to-face time with employers from different industries.

Sarah Anstiss, Skills Lead for The Skills Service, said: "It's great to see the impact of the work we've been delivering and to hear directly from the businesses who support us that they are noticing tangible benefits of getting involved with our activities.

"We rely on the employers who give up their valuable time to take part in our activities and, with a packed events calendar for the forthcoming year, we would encourage others to get involved to see the impact it could have on your business and ensure that we are creating awareness of the whole job market."

Forthcoming Events

May 21 2019 9:30AM / 9.30-11.30am
Storm in a Teacup - Ely
May 22 2019 / 5.00-7.00pm
Informal Networking Evening Fenland
May 23 2019 7:45AM / 7.45-10.00am
Cambridge Safari Business Breakfast
June 3 2019 / 5.00-7.00pm
Informal Networking Evening Huntingdon
June 5 2019 / 5.00-7.00pm
Informal Networking Evening Stamford
June 10 2019 / 5.00-7.00pm
Informal Networking Evening Ely
June 14 2019 12:00PM / 12.00-3.00pm
Global Leaders Lunch and Awards 2019
June 19 2019 / 5.00-7.00pm
Informal Networking Evening Peterborough
June 20 2019 / 5.00-7.00pm
Informal Networking Evening Cambridge