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Encouraging self-belief as an Enterprise Adviser - Sunny Singh

06 Nov 2023

I have to admit that I was originally interested in the Enterprise Adviser scheme to test myself and further my own development. At the time, one of my senior colleagues was speaking highly about the role, and his journey and work ethic was something I aspired to emulate.  

As the Group Commercial Director for Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce and Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce, I’m very passionate about ensuring talent remains within the area. My colleagues share the same passion for inspiring the future generations, and Louise Wall – our CEO – generously allows me to spend some of my work hours actively pursuing community outreach.  

Of the 1,300 businesses we represent, I talk to hundreds every month about how they can engage on a local level – so my job already shared a key sensibility with the Enterprise Adviser role. 

In 2021, Enterprise Coordinator Vikki Morton told me that Abbeyfield School needed an Enterprise Adviser. I attended Abbeyfield as a teenager, so volunteering was a no-brainer: I’m engrossed in the local labour market through my job, I have a teenage son going through careers education himself, and I’m born and raised in the area. I can relate to the experiences of those at the school, and hopefully they can relate to me as well.  

Accurately reflecting local opportunities 

I didn’t thrive academically, but in hindsight I realise how school developed me. Young people are often pigeonholed by the conditions of their upbringing, so myself and Careers Leader, Carla Dufty, recognised that students needed as much access to varied businesses as possible. Part of my duty is to lessen the burden on the school staff, so when they organise outreach events, I call on my own network to fill the room with employers. 

For instance, I recently invited many of the Chamber’s members to Abbeyfield’s Careers Fair, connecting the school with businesses that accurately reflect the opportunities available in Northamptonshire. I wanted to try something different, so I bought a retro Pac-Man game and chatted to attendees while they tried to beat the high score. It might seem tangential, but it helped students to latently practice communication and perseverance in a relatable context – attitudes that employers regard highly. 

I’ve also attended business plan workshops at schools in Milton Keynes, where I brainstormed with sixth formers on hypothetical entrepreneurial ideas. It was reassuring to hear that – through greater exposure to employers – schools are getting better at teaching young people about business structures and the importance of providing social value.  

Building for the future 

I want young people to be the best version of themselves, but sometimes it does take guidance to help them recognise their best attributes. Employers want ambitious and adaptable recruits, so self-belief is one of the core attitudes we want to promote as part of our careers provision. 

I admire the next generation’s mindfulness and confidence when communicating with others – regardless of personality or culture. For me, building a careers strategy that harnesses this appreciation of diversity is vital. As a business community, we’re always focusing on sustainability, mental health and inclusivity; it’s our role to ensure young people today are equipped to continue that. 

The business benefits 

There’s plenty to be learned from students as an Enterprise Adviser. Building relationships between employers and schools naturally teaches young people about employability, but it’s also helped me – from an employer’s perspective – to anticipate the behaviours of the next wave of employees, consumers and clients.  

Being an Enterprise Adviser is a role close to my heart, and the reason it pairs so well with my day job is because I want to make a difference to my local community. By fostering confidence and opportunity awareness within schools, employers can be assured of an ambitious and driven future workforce. I firmly believe the foundations we’re putting in place in careers education today will make a massive difference further down the line.

Become an Enterprise Adviser today

Working with a local school or college, your role as an Enterprise Adviser can help support pathways into your industry and shape young people's futures.

You can help bridge the gap between the world of work and education, working with the Careers Leader and wider senior leaders of the school or college to create opportunities for young people.

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“Sunny has been an asset to the careers provision at Abbeyfield School.  He has supplied us with business contacts that have provided the school with invaluable information and insight into the world of business. Sunny has been supportive on all events we have ran at the school and is always ready to help. He has attended our careers fair in person and given advice and guidance to our students. Being an Alumni of the school has helped him connect with our students and have a real life understanding of the journey from leaving school and going into the workplace. We look forward to continuing to work with Sunny and appreciate all that he is doing to inspire our students”.

Carla Dufty, Careers Leader at Abbeyfield School