Campaign calls on small businesses to inspire young people.
The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership has launched a new campaign to encourage small employers to make a difference to the futures of young people in the Black Country.
The Give an Hour campaign is targeting small and medium sized businesses to offer an hour of their time to help young people prepare for the fast-changing world of work.
The campaign – run jointly by Black Country LEP and The Careers & Enterprise Company – highlights that in as little as one hour, organisations can help to transform a young person’s future by bringing to life different career opportunities and providing insight about the skills young people need to be work-ready and successful in the workplace.
Evidence shows that regular and meaningful engagement with employers while at school can significantly increase young people’s employment prospects and future earnings. * Employers are already engaging with thousands of young people across the country, but more employers need to come forward to work with schools and colleges for every young person to get the support they need. Activities can include interview practice, mentoring or working with a teacher to bring a lesson to life.
With 16.3 million people working in an SME, representing 60% of all private sector employment in the UK, these businesses are key to ensuring all young people get the opportunities they need. The Give an Hour campaign emphasises the importance of tapping into the career opportunities, skills and knowledge of small businesses.
Employers of all shapes and sizes are encouraged to visit www.giveanhour.co.uk to find out more and register to support a school or college in their area.
The Give an Hour campaign has also launched a video highlighting how small employers have helped to support young people’s careers aspirations. You can view the video here
Stewart Towe, Chair of the Black Country LEP said: “The Black Country LEP are excited to lend support to the ‘Give an Hour’ Campaign by encouraging and enabling small and medium businesses to connect with their local school. Small and medium businesses have a vital role to play in helping to build a future talent pipeline by providing young people with a better understanding of local industry. By giving just one hour to their local school, through their local Enterprise Coordinators, small and medium businesses can really make a difference and help influence our future workforce”
Claudia Harris, Chief Executive of The Careers & Enterprise Company, added: “We know that hardworking small business really want to support young people in their local community but finding the time can be difficult. There are many ways to make a difference to a young person’s future – and with as little as one hour these dynamic small firms can help a young person discover more about the world of work and open up career paths they didn’t even know existed.”
Examples of how SMEs can Give an Hour
• Share your career story to a class or assembly setting
• Work with teachers to bring the curriculum to life by providing business examples
• Hold a speed networking event with students one to one or in small groups
• Carry out a mock interview or CV workshop and share your top tips
• Hold a business/enterprise competition to bring your work to life
• Run a group session about your industry or business and the potential opportunities.
Tom Martin currently volunteers with young people and as well as being a full-time farmer, he is Founder of FaceTime a Farmer. He said: “By using technology, it doesn’t even need to take an hour. Our 150 farmers use FaceTime or Skype to connect with 150 classrooms every fortnight, giving the young people an insight into farming and rural life, which links to the curriculum and wider career opportunities.”
During the three years Tom has been supporting schools he has begun viewing young people as a potential future workforce for the industry and as future decision makers when it comes to farming, food and agriculture. He therefore realises how important they are to the industry and that they understand how it works. Unless young people have grown up in this environment, farming or agriculture is not an obvious choice and therefore the opportunities available are often unknown.
Sarah Hopkins currently volunteers with young people as well as being Director of an executive search and recruitment company Hopkins Longworth Ltd. She said: “I love running CV writing, interview skills and personal brand sessions with young people. It gives me an amazing feeling of giving back and the feedback I get is truly uplifting and invigorating.”
Sarah has done lots of volunteering with sixth form students around developing their purpose, brand and CV writing. She is extremely passionate about the importance of delivering meaningful employer activities and wants to highlight to other businesses about the benefits and positive feeling that giving back can have for employees. Many young people who she has helped are applying for jobs that did not exist a few years ago which is why she wants to educate others about career choices.