Boost for Black Country youth employment

Black Country LEP awarded funding to deliver Passport to Employment.

The Careers & Enterprise Company has invested £240,000 through their Investment Fund to support young people across the Black Country to develop their careers in key transformational sectors including Advanced Manufacturing, Building Technologies, Transport Technologies, Environmental Technologies and Business Services.

Led by the Black Country LEP, the Passport to Employment programme will connect year 9 pupils and teachers with employers from these key sectors through a variety of activities and events held at both the school and the employers.

The Passport to Employment programme, which will run until September 2017, will enable schools and teachers to work confidently with employers to understand the careers and pathways in the Black Country key sectors and to build long term, high quality relationships that will enhance careers and employability learning within the school’s curriculum.

The Careers & Enterprise Company is an employer-led organisation that has been set up to inspire and prepare young people for the fast-changing world of work. The Passport to Employment will be led by the Black Country LEP in partnership with Business in the Community as well as the Education Business Partnerships across Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall.

George Andrews, Chair of the Black Country LEP Employment and Skills Board, said: “This investment will enable the Black Country to build on existing partnerships between business and schools. Through the Passport to Employment not only do we aim to inspire the next generation of engineer or manufacturer but also to create a framework of effective continuing professional development for teachers across sectors. The programme will create a blue print for assignments for use in the classrooms not just across the Black Country but potentially on a national scale.”

Claudia Harris, Chief Executive of The Careers & Enterprise Company said: “The world of work is changing fast and equipping young people to successfully transition from education to work requires ever closer engagement between businesses, schools and colleges. We know encounters with businesses are powerful in raising aspirations and improving employment outcomes.

“However, evidence shows that only in 40% of schools do young people have an encounter with an employer once a year despite the fact that those who have more encounters while in education are significantly less likely to be NEET and earn, on average, 18% more than peers who have not. Initiatives such as this one have an important role to play in motivating, preparing and supporting young people to make independent and fact-based decisions about their futures by increasing the exposure they have to businesses and improving the opportunities available to them.”

The Passport to Employment builds on the success of the Careers & Enterprise Company’s Enterprise Advisor initiative which the Black Country LEP is delivering across Black Country schools through two Enterprise Co-ordinators and a network of Enterprise Advisors who are already working with Education Business Partnerships.

The resources created through the Passport to Employment would be integrated within the Enterprise Adviser network to aid the sustainability and create a legacy that will live beyond the life of the Careers & Enterprise Company’s investment.

For further information on the Passport to Employment visit