The Skills Service, run by Opportunity Peterborough, has celebrated its 1,000th careers event, a session of mock interviews at Ken Stimpson Community School on Wednesday 4 March. As an extra bonus, Ken Stimpson Community School has also just achieved all eight of the government’s Gatsby Benchmarks which outline best practice in careers education.
The importance of careers education has been evidenced in several recent studies. The OECD international economics think tank has shown that children can face limited career ambitions from as young as seven due to stereotyping and that there is a growing mismatch between aspirations and the changing demands of the jobs market.1 However, research by the charity, Education and Employers, also shows that as few as four interactions with employers in school can reduce a young person’s chances of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training) by 25%.2
Events run by The Skills Service range from mock interviews and CV masterclasses to enterprise challenges and careers shows, and often are students’ first experiences of the world of work. Each event has professionals from all sectors volunteering their time to share their experiences with students, showcase the huge variety of careers available, different routes into work and to help young people improve their chances of finding work and rewarding careers.
When The Skills Service was founded in 2011 it only covered secondary schools and colleges in Peterborough, but its success in bringing together businesses and education providers has seen the service expand to also work in Fenland, East Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire and South Holland.
In the last year alone, the team has delivered 165 events in over 30 schools in partnership with 860 businesses, reaching a total of 26,545 students. The team works with students in years 7-13 and has recently started working with primary schools as well.
Sarah Anstiss, Skills Lead for The Skills Service at Opportunity Peterborough said, “This is a huge milestone for The Skills Service and it’s not only a testament to the hard work of the team, but to the hundreds of businesses and individuals across the region who volunteer their time to support the future workforce. On top of showcasing career options, our events also aim to develop soft skills that employers really value like resilience, time management and communication.
“High quality careers education is fundamental to filling industry skills gaps and broadening young people’s horizons so we’re thrilled that Ken Stimpson Community School is achieving national best practice! The Benchmarks provide very high standards and the school has done an excellent job ensuring all their students are aware of different local employers, career paths, further and higher education options, and have a good understanding of the wider economy.”
Bryan Erwin, Principal of Ken Stimpson Community School said, “We’re extremely proud to have achieved all eight Gatsby Benchmarks and to continue working with The Skills Service to enhance our careers education. It’s really important that we equip students with not only knowledge, but aspirations for their future. Working with The Skills Service makes it much easier for us to give students exposure to sectors they might not have considered, and show the range of career options out there to suit all abilities, interests and skill sets.”
Tom Hennessy, Chief Executive of Opportunity Peterborough added, “These achievements have been hard earned and show how much dedication there is amongst educators, businesses, and the public sector to help young people get their careers off to the best possible start. Our region’s economy offers so many opportunities across sectors, with international corporations, right down to agile start-ups. If we want our economy to remain resilient, it’s vital we retain and nurture young talent and help them develop the skills and ambition employers are looking for.”
For more information about The Skills Service visit theskillsservice.co.uk. Any organisation interested in providing work experience can contact a member of the team by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01733 863696.