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Claudia Harris to step down as CEO of The Careers & Enterprise Company

Claudia Harris is to step down from The Careers & Enterprise Company this month, after five years as CEO and will become the CEO of Makers.

Christine Hodgson, The Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC) Chairman, said:

“Claudia has provided exceptional leadership to The Careers & Enterprise Company during her tenure as CEO.

“Under Claudia’s stewardship, CEC has established a national network that is transforming careers education across England. A dynamic and resilient partnership of schools, colleges, employers and local agencies is supporting young people in communities across the country, working towards a new standard for careers excellence using the Gatsby Benchmarks.

“From a standing start, CEC has helped to create a landscape where 80 per cent of young people – over 3 million – now regularly meet employers every year. With areas like the Black Country, Humber, Tees Valley and Blackpool among the best performing for careers support in the country, aspiration and opportunity are being lifted for young people in our most disadvantaged communities.

“Never has that need been more acute than now, in the profoundly challenging environment we face as a consequence of coronavirus. We know there is much more to do. We have the structures and relationships in place and a resolute determination to meet that challenge and provide the support needed in communities across the country as the economy moves into recovery.

 “The Board would like to thank Claudia for her outstanding achievements. She leaves a lasting legacy and we will now begin the process to appoint a successor.”

Claudia Harris said:

“It has been an honour to lead The Careers & Enterprise Company over the last five years and have the opportunity to support young people as they make that vital transition into the world of work.

“Throughout, we have maintained a laser focus on those young people in communities where support is most needed, originally defined as ‘cold spots’, and many of those regions now lead the way nationally in providing outstanding careers education. 

“Progress has only been achieved through genuine partnership and the passion and commitment of teachers, careers leaders, employers and colleagues from LEPs and local agencies across the country. I am grateful to have worked on something that matters so much with people who care so much.

“The partnership that has been established between employment and education – supported by a national strategy with the thrust of government behind it – provides the firm foundation needed for success in the future and especially during these testing new times.”

Carl Ward, Executive Chairman of the Foundation for Education and Chairman of CEC’s Education Leaders Advisory Group said:

“Claudia’s leadership of The Careers & Enterprise Company has been pivotal in building a new vision for careers education and executing that vision effectively with teachers in schools and colleges for the benefit of young people and communities.

“For the first time in this country we have a powerful partnership between education and employers that is making a real difference in the lives of young people. Both schools and business leaders say they like the system and it is working.

“It is a partnership that is a critical point of difference from what existed following previous economic shocks and means we are better positioned to respond to what young people will need as they transition from education into the world of work.”

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the CBI said:

“Connecting business leaders with schools makes a huge difference. Under Claudia’s leadership, The Careers & Enterprise Company has created a clear pathway to make that happen, and businesses of all sizes, across many different sectors are taking up the challenge to raise the aspirations and skills of young people. By backing a common framework in the Gatsby Benchmarks and providing up to date data on the gaps across the country, CEC has allowed employers to focus their efforts more effectively than ever before.

“Employers are supporting schools and colleges at a local level and on a national scale and the reason for this is clear; education is the number one driver of productivity, business competitiveness, and economic prosperity.

“These relationships between the worlds of education and employment will be even more critical as we seek to tackle the challenges of re-energising the economy, supporting our young people and nurturing the talent of tomorrow.”

John Yarham has been the acting CEO during Claudia Harris’ period of maternity leave, since November 2019, and will continue to lead the organisation until a permanent CEO is appointed.