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Careers Hubs are transforming careers education and providing the support and guidance young people need

Angela Moore, Head of Skills Factory Black Country Consortium Ltd, shares her experience of the Careers Hub creating strong local partnerships and driving positive progress in careers education in her region. 

If we turn the clock back to 2016, when The Careers & Enterprise Company and the Black Country Consortium Ltd joined together to bring the Enterprise Adviser Network to the Schools in the Black Country, we could never have imagined the positive driving force this Network, and subsequently the Careers Hubs, would become.

Seventy-six mainstream schools at that time were all working completely in silo with very little interaction with the world outside their gates – those grey sheds of the local employers and workplaces they passed each day on their way into school were a complete mystery to the teachers and pupils alike.

The Black Country were early adopters of the Gatsby framework, believing it to be an important measure of the work we planned to do. The ‘coldspot’ data at that time was telling us that in the Black Country we were the worst performing area for employers offering ‘work inspiration’ in schools.

The new approach to Careers Education; the roll out of Careers Hubs, the Gatsby Framework becoming the norm in schools & colleges, Enterprise Advisers volunteering in our schools and colleges and the investment in the ‘Careers Leader’ role has led to significant change in the Black Country.  

Schools and colleges in the Careers hub schools are now consistently providing good quality careers education and local labour market information to young people and their parents in our area.

That support continued during the Covid pandemic with schools and colleges providing meaningful encounters with employers in every single year group for the majority if not all of their pupils.

The Black Country Careers Hub Steering Group consults with the schools and Cornerstone employers each year, and with one eye on the Compass data, they prepare a robust plan of support and activity which will support the Careers Leaders and teachers to have the maximum impact on the pupils.

The schools and colleges no longer work in silo, they work collaboratively under the Careers Hub banner to attract employers to support their activities and provide experiences of the workplace.

They share resources ideas and contacts to enable them to work in a more efficient and smart way. They access CPD and training opportunities for themselves and their teachers. They are now connected to the grey sheds of local employers and workplaces outside their school or college gates.

We have provided additional support remotely to pupils since the start of the pandemic with some of our ‘Live’ Careers events such as our live ‘’Royal Wolverhampton NHS Careers’’ in September attracting over 2,200 young people.

Since March, the Careers Hub has offered virtual teacher CPD events for LMI, Apprenticeships and transformational sectors such as engineering, in collaboration with local employers and stakeholders. We have delivered Careers Surgeries, webinars and live events for pupils. We have also reached out directly to over 400 potential NEET young people with our ‘My Choices’ guide. 

The Careers Hub has been a lifeline for Careers Leaders who have been able to access resources especially adapted for remote learning and have been contacted with weekly updates as opportunities for virtual encounters with employers and experiences emerge.

I pay tribute to all our Enterprise Advisers, like Dave from Marstons and Halisha from Accord, who have been busy providing virtual mentoring; Spence from the AA provided virtual interview skills guidance to pupils at his school and also video content for the Careers Hubs virtual interview skills resource pack.           

The Local Area Recovery plans have a thread of skills throughout and it is more important now than ever that, through the work of the Careers Hubs, our young people are supported to not only make the right choices but to have their aspirations heightened by the opportunities that exist.

It is imperative we remain focused on preparing young people for the future of the world of work and that they recognise potential careers in up and coming sectors such as pharmaceuticals, fast moving goods, electrification of vehicles and touchless and home technologies.

The LEPs have a vital part to play in ensuring that those sectors are able to thrive and recruit locally for their future workforce. This means ensuring, through the Careers Hub, that schools and colleges provide multiple opportunities for young people to learn about and experience up and coming sectors and technologies to inspire their educational and personal learning.   

The Careers Hubs in the Black Country have developed strong networks for colleges and schools They have connected early with DWP, ASK, Training Providers, Colleges, Universities, Local Authorities, Employers, Charities and employers to ensure that the whole school approach to careers education also embeds a whole community’s approach.

This is enabling schools and colleges to deliver a far wider range of activities and provide individualised support to those who need it, ensuring all our young people have the support they need.

Download the new Careers Education in England’s schools and colleges 2020 report.