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Hundreds of people from across the education, business and skills sectors attended the Careers & Enterprise Company’s Annual Conference in Sheffield.

Now in its second year, the “Joining the Dots” conference is a celebration of how the Company and its partners are working together to help young people into the fast-changing world of work.

Delegates attended sessions on everything from raising aspirations in schools and effective employer engagement to inclusive encounters for all young people and mentoring. A series of interactive sessions on how delegates could help shape the discussion around encounters and careers leadership in schools also took place.

Speakers at the conference included Christine Hodgson, Chair of the Careers & Enterprise Company, Josh Hardie, Deputy Director-General for Policy and Campaigns, CBI, Carl Ward, incoming President of the Association of School and College Leaders, Judith Doyle, Gateshead College Principal and CEO, Professor Sir John Holman, Senior Education Adviser to the Gatsby Foundation and Olympic medal-winning gymnast Beth Tweddle MBE.

Senior business volunteers and careers and enterprise organisations were also recognised for their role in inspiring and preparing young people for the world of work at the Company’s first ‘Joining the Dots’ Awards which shines a light on best practice up and down the country.

The employer categories acknowledged both large and small to medium employers (SME) who provide strategic support to schools and colleges, creating long-lasting relationships and enabling meaningful workplace encounters for young people.

The regional categories recognised best practice through the Company’s 1,600-strong Enterprise Adviser Network who “join the dots” between schools and colleges, employers and providers, supported by Enterprise Coordinators and Local Enterprise Partnerships.

The winners were:

  • SME-sized employer: Alistair Carnegie, Enterprise Adviser and MD at Total Energy Solutions and Cornwall LEP
  • Large employer: Adecco with ‘Way to Work’ and New Anglia LEP
  • Central & East region: The Evolve Trust/D2N2 LEP with Brunts Academy
  • North East region: ‘SEN Dream Team’ - Rotherham Enterprise Adviser Network in partnership with Jobcentre Plus
  • North West region: Mohamed Isap, Enterprise Adviser and MD at Hieroglyph with Tauheedl Islam Girls’ High School, Founders4Schools and Greater Manchester LEP
  • South East region: Catherine Brunger, Enterprise Adviser and Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at AXA PPP with South East LEP and St Richard’s Catholic College
  • South West region: St Austell's schools and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP
  • West Midlands region: Passport2Employment/ Black Country/ Business in the Community. EBPs and National Citizen Service

Claudia Harris, Chief Executive of the Careers & Enterprise Company, said: “These awards are our small way of celebrating this growing national movement that is helping young people transition from education into employment.

“It was inspiring to see the impact of our Enterprise Advisers and how local careers and enterprise experts are forging strategic partnerships with employers to support thousands of young people into work.”

The conference was held at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield on 10th May.

Visit our Facebook page to see photos from the conference and the awards ceremony.

You can also see a summary of conference tweets on Storify.