Jobs boost for Black Country students

Black Country announced as Careers Hub to help transform careers education.

The Black Country is to become one of twenty Careers Hubs, following an announcement from the Secretary of State. The expansion of the successful hub model follows news last year that careers support is improving across England and is now strongest in disadvantaged areas.

The Black Country Careers Hub will be made up of 45 local schools and colleges working together with universities, training providers, employers and career professionals. Each Hub brings together a group of schools and colleges to improve careers support for young people in their area, through a relentless focus on best practice.

This Hub is the second to be established in the area, with the original Hub including 35 schools and 1 college delivered a marked improvement in the careers offers to young people in these schools with progress being made against each of the Gatsby Benchmarks.
Building on success

In September The Careers & Enterprise Company launched the first 20 Careers Hubs across England.

Schools and colleges in this first wave of Careers Hubs are already outperforming the national average across all aspects of careers education nationally. After two terms, schools and colleges which are part of the first wave of Hubs are:
• outperforming the national average on every single one of the eight Gatsby Benchmarks of good careers guidance
• the majority (58%) are providing every student with regular encounters with employers
• the majority (52%) are providing every student with workplace experiences such as work experience, shadowing or workplace visits

The announcement today is for a second wave of 18 new and two expanded Careers Hubs, backed by a further £2.5m investment. Just over 1,300 secondary schools and colleges (around a quarter of those in England) will now benefit from being part of a Careers Hub.

Schools and colleges will have access to support and funding, including an expert Hub Lead to help coordinate activity and build networks, a central fund to support employer engagement activities, and training for a Careers Leader in each school and college.

Employers are vital to the Hub model’s success, with all Hubs required to demonstrate strong engagement amongst local businesses and a clear plan for increasing employer engagement. As well as support from the CBI, more than 100 Cornerstone Employers across the country have committed to driving and championing all-important connections to the world of work. Cornerstone Employers work with a specific Hub and underwrite careers provision in these areas.

The Careers Hubs are based on a model first piloted by the Gatsby Foundation and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership from 2015-17. Schools and colleges in the pilot made rapid progress against the Gatsby Benchmarks, and independent evaluation showed increased attainment and career readiness among students.

The Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education, said: “It is so important that young people get to know about a range of different jobs and careers so they can see the possible opportunities out there. Good careers education is such a valuable asset that helps children to explore future possibilities and go on to lead happy rewarding lives.

“Careers Hubs bring together schools, colleges, universities and employers to share their expertise and improve the careers education on offer to make sure young people have the information they need to make the most of their talents.

“Today’s investment will give thousands more young people access to expert careers support as they take those first exciting steps into their future.”

Angela Moore, Black Country Careers Hub Manager, added: “This second Careers Hub will allow us to include all of the Secondary Schools and Colleges including the Special Educational Needs schools and the pupil referral units. Our first Hub has been hugely successful bringing pupils and employees together resulting in a marked improvement in the careers offer to young people in the schools involved to-date.

“We are very excited to be able to extend this service to all in the Black Country from September to support the schools Careers Leaders to achieve the Gatsby Benchmarks and improve careers programmes in all schools across the borough.”

Claudia Harris, CEO of The Careers & Enterprise Company, said: “Careers education is improving across the country. The accelerated progress we’re seeing in the first wave of Careers Hubs shows that this model is working and delivering for young people, with schools and colleges in this first wave of Careers Hubs already outperforming the national average across all aspects of careers education.

“We are delighted that the Government’s investment is supporting us to roll out this model to a quarter of schools and colleges in the country, helping more young people get the vital support and opportunities they need.”