Below is a collection of testimonials from businesses and educational establishments we have worked with over the years.
Company specialising in training, employment and apprenticeships
I have worked with the Skills service for a few years now and I have found that they are all really friendly and so helpful.
They have invited me to many school events, which were all very well organised and great to go to. There is always good interactions with the students and other employers at all their events. They always like to include a great variety of employers, giving students lots of opportunities for their futures.
They are an essential link between schools and employers. I hope to continue to work with all of them as it is a great pleasure to attend any of their events.
Federica Bocchetti-Dunn - School Engagement Co-ordinator
Abbey College, Ramsey
Secondary school + sixth form in Ramsey, Cambs
We have worked with the Skills Service for a number of years and have built up a very positive relationship with them, meeting on a regular basis to maintain momentum of our careers provision.
With their support, we have been able to match our careers programme to the Gatsby Benchmarks, thus ensuring the needs of all our students are met. They offer advice on delivery methods and provide the opportunity to review and reflect on their contribution to ensure continued success. As they have knowledge about the local area, they are able to empathise with the barriers we face, being situated in a small rural town where employment opportunities and public transport are limited.
Through their engagement with numerous business sectors, they are able to provide appropriate employer support to our events such as the Annual Careers Fair, Mock Interview Day, Guess the Professional and Meet the Professional, where students can access CIAG across lots of different career areas and levels and gain knowledge about the local and national labour market - this then supports them in their 1:1 career guidance interviews and career plan development.
They have also secured an enterprise advisor to work with us to further develop our careers provision and have supported me greatly with creating a careers strategy and employer engagement strategy, and offered advice and guidance on evidence required for the career quality mark. In conclusion, they are an invaluable asset to ensuring careers provision is delivered to the highest standard in line with the Department of Education’s statutory guidance.
Lesley Pollard - Careers Lead
A large water company that operates in the East of England
Anglian Water’s Education team and our volunteering programme ‘Love to Help’ have worked with The Skills Service over several years and are always impressed by their organisation and running of events. The Skills Service team are extremely professional and knowledgeable. They are an excellent conduit between schools and business, as they understand the pressure on both and liaise effectively to create and deliver sessions/days that meet the needs and objectives of both.
Working with them in their role as part of the Careers and Enterprise Programme has allowed me to take part in their programme as part of my role as an Enterprise advisor. The events/ activities are always extremely well prepared, and all documentation is sent out well in advance. The events/activities are facilitated to a high standard with clear guidance for supporting adults. Explanations and instructions are clear and concise, and links are made to the Gatsby Benchmarking and to curriculum objectives were relevant.
Schools are confident in the Skills Services ability to deliver good quality interactions for their students that assist in preparing them for the world of work. Anglian Water will continue to supporting the Skills Service with their programme through our ‘Love to Help’ volunteering programme and our Community Education Team, as we understand the value of their deliver.
The Skills Service is an excellent service.
Marcia Davies – Community Education Team Manager
Leading digital distributor of insurance and household financial services
I just want to say a massive thank you from us here at BGL Customer Services for your support in liaising with the schools for our NAW 2020 Academy sector days.
Both days were a success; on Thursday we had 15 students attend from both Sawtry Village Academy and Ken Stimpson Community School.
Again a massive thank you, we look forward to doing these days again.
Kelly Vara - Apprentice Intake Recruitment Consultant
College of West Anglia
Large provider of education and training in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire
Working with The Skills Service helps us develop our school relationships and actively supports all colleges in promoting post-16 options including vocational and apprenticeship training.
Like much of East Anglia, Cambridgeshire is a countryside environment and many schools are in rural settings. Working in collaboration with the Skills Service Enables CWA to build relationships with these schools in order for us to gain a greater understanding of the challenges they face.
The Skill Service also creates many networking opportunities with employers in the region, which in turn helps to give us a better understanding of skill needs and shortages, in order for us to plan our future offer to meet these.
Most secondary schools have similar requirements in terms of achieving the required Gatsby benchmarks and with the specialist support of the Skills Service they can meet these with ease and may otherwise struggle, especially since many careers leaders are new to the roles and may lack experience of building relationships with local employers.
The Skills Service’s range of work related activities for schools helps develop work-readiness of teenagers at all levels, preparing them for the world of work including work based learning, but also those progressing to further education colleges such as ourselves. This can be from something as simple as interview techniques, through to work experience opportunities.
I know that many schools find the link between education and employment sometimes difficult, as it is almost as if they speak 2 different languages. The business and education development team at Skills Service are experts at communicating with all genres at all levels and strive to help them both make that connection.
With apprenticeships being so high on the government’s agenda, the Skills Service helps create pathways for recruitment and work experience for school leavers, reducing NEET in the area.
The Skill Service events are always a pleasure as they are well attended, well organised and create the perfect balance of information and intrigue that gives the attendees the best opportunity to see what they can achieve.
Luke Byron – Head of Marketing & Events
Cromwell Community College
Secondary school + sixth form in Chatteris, Cambs
The Skills Service enhances so many events and opportunities for our pupils. They are always available to organise or support IAG events for all ages. They have been part of the school team for many years and we have developed a long lasting relationship, mainly due to the fact that they are local to the school and, therefore, know the demographics and understand the pupils’ needs and aspirations. I often have meetings with The Skills Service, which initiates ideas to resolve problems or inspires more events.
If I did not have the support and knowledge which The Skills Service offers, many opportunities would be missing from the calendar. Some of the challenges include Careers Fairs, meeting employers, mock interviews, Enterprise events, Apprenticeship workshops, all of which we would struggle to organise without the support and time from The Skills Service.
I would love to see The Skills Service as a part of the ‘RATE’ card system, which needs to be re vamped and designed for local agencies rather than national organisations which have little idea about Fenland and the needs of the pupils.
If I was to be asked for one organisation which I would retain at all costs, it would be The Skills Service.
Heather Paul – Director of Sixth Form Studies
Dersingham Business Network
A local independent business group in Dersingham, Norfolk
The Skills Service has helped the local business community by supporting our free networking events where small businesses, sole-traders are able to debate and discuss the issues relevant to them with statutory agencies, training providers and those offering support and advice.
Sue Payne - Parish Council Chairman
Jack Hunt School
Secondary school + sixth form in Peterborough
At Jack Hunt School we find the support of Skills service and the advice, resources and contacts they provide invaluable to our delivery of CEG and employer encounter opportunities for our pupils.
We have 1,800 pupils aged 11 – 18 and the support we receive enables us to have a comprehensive and rolling programme of delivery and experiences, the service is also flexible throughout the year and is constantly updating its offer, introducing new initiatives and connecting the school with further resources for us to utilise.
As a school with a high number from disadvantaged backgrounds, minority ethnic groups and as a region where we often have fewer opportunities- having a service that is able to offer additional options beyond the classroom is so important to the future of our young people to help them develop and have a fairer chance in the wider world.
As a full time teacher with management responsibilities I would not be unable to offer and procure all these activities and events without the Skills service meaning our pupils would miss out, additionally as we have limited budgets for non-classroom support the fact that they are centrally located and accessible to come to us as a school also is a great benefit and with this support and advice we are able to ensure a greater quality and quantity of offer to the pupils of Jack Hunt School.
Amanda Lawrence - Curriculum Area Leader PDE & Citizenship
Secondary school + sixth form in March, Cambs
Working with The Skills Service has been instrumental in the development of our careers strategy to the point now where we are meeting all Gatsby Benchmarks. The team has an excellent understanding of Local LMI and this coupled with her knowledge of our student’s skills means that she is able to support us to provide bespoke activities as well as give us the crucial links with employers.
As a school we sit within the East Cambs and Fenland Opportunity Area and we have been able to take advantage of services supplied through the rate card. However, it would have made more sense for The Skills Service to be part of this service. They have a key understanding of our local area, know the employers who want to work with schools and are very effective at matching school requirements with employer availability.
Feedback from students on events supported by The Skills Service are very positive and reflect the growing understanding of the importance of engaging with employers as students move through the school.
My own experience of working with them means we have collaboratively shaped the Academy Careers Plan implementing strategic improvements ensuring success in all Gatsby areas. I always know we can count on support of The Skills Service and the provision they offer to our students as they prepare for their next steps in their learning and education.
Sam Mandley - Director of Curriculum and Careers
Special school in Peterborough for students with SEMH (social, emotional and mental health) difficulties
NeneGate is a small special school for children and young people with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs.
The Skills Service have been pivotal for several years in the development of our life skills and careers programme. They provide a skilled and bespoke service to support some of the most vulnerable children and young people in the city.
Undoubtedly, the service they provide has allowed our students to widen the circle of adults they interact with; and help them to really begin to plan for an aspirational future. We have been lucky enough to engage in: work placements; networking breakfasts; mock interviews; careers events; CV writing workshops; compass audits; and, enterprise challenges.
NeneGate cannot thank The Skills Service enough for the enthusiastic and philanthropic service they provide.
Sue Parsons – Assistant Head
Peterborough STEM Festival
Annual celebration of all things STEM in and around Peterborough
The Skills Service are a valued partner to Peterborough STEM Festival, sharing our enthusiasm for career opportunities within STEM and allowing us to tailor our programme to the national curriculum. We have also worked with the Skills Service in planning future events to raise the profile of STEM careers within Peterborough and the surrounding areas.
Since our first event in 2016 we have seen our attendance numbers rapidly increase to nearly 4,000 visitors in 2019. There is no doubt that by engaging with local education providers the Skills Service helped to raise our profile and forge valuable relationships with key teaching staff.
Jonathan Fracella - Joint Founder
Spalding High School
Grammar school for girls & mixed sixth form located in Spalding, Lincs
We have worked with The Skills Service for a couple of years now and their advice and input has helped us to develop CEIAG in our school.
Last year we had our first careers fair which TSS organised with us and it was a great success. They are able to link schools with employers and are extremely personable. They also offer new suggestions for CEIAG content and will always be at the end of the phone for advice.
We have really valued our partnership with The Skills Service.
Dawn Bushell - Careers Leader
Metalcraft manufacture high integrity mission critical products for some of the world’s most hazardous and dangerous environments
Working in conjunction with The Skills Service, Metalcraft have been supporting our local schools with a wide range of activities across different year groups for many years. We see this voluntary contribution as an investment in both future generations of potential employee’s and a benefit to those from the company who take part.
The co-ordination and breadth of activities that The Skills Service provides is first class and is an integral part of the relationship between schooling and business. All employees describe a range of benefits derived from taking part such as increased confidence, better understanding of the local area, and a sense of giving back to the community.
Martin Lawrence – Commercial Director
The King’s (The Cathedral) School
School in Peterborough
Our careers team have received consistent and positive support from the Skills Service in terms of advice regarding achieving Gatsby Benchmarks, and have benefitted from regular contact with the professional Skills Service team.
They have supported us in practical terms when arranging whole-school and year-group focused events, providing excellent representation from a broad range of local and national businesses. The fact that these services are provided free of charge to the school is of major importance, and enables us to offer all of our students a range of opportunities in which to engage with employers.
There is also a benefit for the employers, who are able to build links with the school and benefit from post-16 and post-18 leavers moving in to the workplace.
Heather Smith – Careers Lead
Thomas Clarkson Academy
Secondary school + sixth form in Wisbech, Cambs
I have personally worked with The Skills Service for nearly five years and during that time their service delivery and the range of opportunities they provide has only improved and expanded, from a baseline service that was already of a high quality. This is not only due to the package of options that they can provide, but also the personal relationships the staff establish with each school, to ensure delivery meets the individual needs of that school and its students.
At Thomas Clarkson Academy (TCA), The Skills Service has delivered services including:
Enterprise Challenges – both Ducks & Build A Business
Visits for students to meet employers & see real sites in action
Assessment Centre Challenge – Yr 12
These opportunities form a core part of our programme and are integral to ensuring that we both meet the Gatsby benchmarks and that our students benefit from quality experiences. Each event is assessed and developed year on year and this has ensured that delivery remains up to date and pertinent to our changing cohorts and the local labour market.
In addition, staff from The Skills Service play a vital role in ensuring the effective co-ordination of delivery between schools, so that undue pressure is not placed on local employers and local resources can be shared effectively. For example Rebecca Sussex formed and chairs the Regional Careers Leader / Adviser meetings that enables the sharing of best practice and communication between schools.
I certainly hope that this can continue.
Vicky Read – Careers Leader
Thomas Deacon Academy
Junior + secondary schools & sixth form in Peterborough
The Skills Service have worked with Thomas Deacon Academy for a number of years. They have provided practical support to conduct an audit of our careers programme to advise us in how we can achieve the Gatsby benchmarks.
TSS programme of activities to support careers education has breadth and depth and this has benefited our KS-KS5 curriculum and has enabled young people to engage with employers and learn new skills through a variety of experiences.
The team have worked with us to produce a coherent CEIAG strategy that links the school curriculum to the world of work. Highlights include the Careers Fair for Y10-12 Build a business for Y9 Business students and the Ducks Challenge for the whole Y6 cohort in our Junior Academy.
Most recently we have benefited from meeting with PSS and other agencies to augment our programme through the TDA Engaging Employers CEIAG Forum with our two Enterprise Co-ordinators attending. We were collaborating on planning a HE and Apprenticeships Fair for students and parents prior to Covid Lockdown.
Thomas Deacon Academy offered targeted Y11 students the opportunity to have a week of work experience in February 2020 and the support from TSS was very beneficial enabling the students to select a work placement. It is hoped this can continue so that the school develops more links with employers.
The TSS team are consistently professional, highly motivated and thorough in their work with us and we highly value their support.
Dr Hilary Faulkner - SLT: Director of Community
Large British company for international payments & foreign currency exchange
We have worked closely with the Skills Service for the last four years during this time we have built an excellent working relationship, which has resulted in us designing and delivering an internally Schools Programme.
Our Schools Programme has delivered financial benefits to the business via recruitment of students for part-time roles, allowed development of our colleagues by delivering a Maths Programme, completing mock interviews and various exercises which have ably been designed and delivered by the Skills Service. These sessions have mutually benefited both our colleagues and the students.
We have several colleagues completing NVQs via the workplace and the Skills Service have supported their learning and completion of appropriate modules. They have also delivered training to all colleagues that support the Schools programme, which has again assisted with their confidence and skills for training / coaching delivery.
The relationships I witness they have built with local businesses and Schools is incredible and so supportive of all involved.
Mandy Parkins - Head of UK and NA Sales Centre
University Centre Peterborough
A small higher education institution located in Peterborough
University Centre Peterborough have worked with The Skills Service on many projects ranging from attending events, supporting initiatives and developing new projects.
It is always a pleasure to attend events organised by The Skills Service as you know they are well supported and received by the schools, visitors and exhibitors as well benefiting from their expert organisation – this is a crucial combination.
We have attended over 100 events from The Skills Service and everyone has been worthwhile attending. Over the years, we have worked with every member of their team are they are all committed to ensuring schools and students receive the best support and want them to make the best choices for the future.
We share the same values about wanting to raise aspirations and realise everyone has the potential to achieve their goals.
Radford Hudson - Marketing & Events Officer
Witchford Village College
Secondary school in Witchford, Cambs
I would just like to extend a thank you to the Skills Service for the service they provide to local schools. We have always found them very approachable and accommodating to all of the events that we wish to offer.
They are able to tap into a wide range of employers and offer a diverse, interesting programme. The information providing from Activote provides a good insight in to students knowledge, so allowing us to plan and implement in a more cohesive way. We receive regular updates on local opportunities and support to attend if required.