Skills programme aimed at school leavers launched

Call for West Midlands services sector to grow next generation of talent.

Social enterprise Ahead Partnership has announced a new, year-long programme of careers and skills activities designed to connect young people with business, professional and financial services employers across Greater Birmingham and Solihull. Launching this Autumn, Growing Talent in #BPFS will help support regional recovery by building young people’s career aspirations and developing the sector’s talent pipeline.

Following four years of successful Professional Services Weeks across Birmingham, Growing Talent in #BPFS will see activity extended to an exciting year-round programme. Ahead Partnership will lead the calendar of events using important funding from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP and committed private sector employers, and working with Birmingham Education Partnership to ensure schools are fully plugged into the opportunities to get involved.

From SMEs to global firms, businesses of all sizes are encouraged to join the impressive line-up of regional employers already committed to sponsoring valuable activities.

With the pandemic creating a challenging job market and disproportionately affecting those from disadvantaged backgrounds, the much-needed scheme will help boost young people’s optimism for the future and build upon Ahead Partnership’s efforts to diversify talent pipelines across the region.

Following popular West Midlands initiatives like #STEMFestWM, Growing Talent in #BPFS will enable professional services firms to play a key role in creating a more inclusive sector that promotes social mobility for the long term.

Ensuring practical and safe delivery, Ahead Partnership has developed flexible activities that work within the limitations of social distancing for schools and workplaces, and will provide the necessary resources and support to deliver engagement from home or at the office. Key activities will include careers panels; meet-the-employer events; live brief projects; video resources; and an innovative virtual work experience programme.

Stephanie Burras CBE, Chief Executive of Ahead Partnership, said: “We’re delighted to welcome businesses of all sizes across the Greater Birmingham and Solihull area to join us in what is set to be a truly inspiring and timely initiative for young people across the region.

“We have big plans to deliver safe, meaningful activity and help establish valuable employer connections at a time when young people really need our support, and so we’re inviting forward-thinking business, professional and financial services firms to pledge their support and play their part in facilitating inclusive economic recovery for the region.”

Spencer Wilson, Head of Skills at Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, said: “Here at GBSLEP we are delighted to be working with Ahead Partnership, to create the future talent pathways not just deserved by our young people but required by our key employers; in this case across our key Business, Professional and Financial Services sector. This has never been more important than it is today and, through our relationship with Ahead Partnership, we will ensure the skills pipeline is in place to safeguard recovery and maximise the opportunities this brings.”

Jan Myatt, Vice Principal of Matthew Boulton College at BMet, added: “We are thrilled to be part of this exciting project connecting young people with business, professional and financial services employers across our region.

“Through our Greater Birmingham Professional Services Academy, we already have strong connections with employers but initiatives like this are so important to help our young people across the city, the next generation of business leaders, thrive.

“We have supported the last four successful Professional Services Week and are delighted with how this project is evolving. We look forward to continuing to be an active partner and encourage regional businesses to sign up and pledge support to this important initiative.”

Growing Talent in #BPFS is the latest initiative to be launched by Ahead Partnership in the West Midlands, following years of dedicated efforts to tackle skills deficits, promote social mobility and help employers meet corporate objectives across the region and beyond. This innovative programme will begin with a launch fortnight in November sponsored by BMet College.

More information on getting involved in the scheme can be found here.

Pic – Benjamin Statham