Our role as a Careers Hub
09 Jul 2021
We hear from Gerarde Manley, Careers Hub Manager, LLEP about the impact businesses have when engaging with education, and the vital role the Careers Hub plays.
We seem to start many of our conversations with ‘in these unprecedented times’ and careers education is no exception. In Leicester and Leicestershire, we have increasingly seen the LEP’s role as a convening partner in the sector bringing together our local stakeholders, education providers and Enterprise Advisers (EAs) to support Careers Leaders in schools and colleges as they adapt and flex their careers programmes to keep careers on the agenda and in the recovery curriculum.
So, how has this approach we now take to careers education changed this for the better? Perhaps the most obvious is leveraging technology which presents us now with a more widely accepted vehicle for creating virtual encounters with employers. We’ve seen success in this through ‘Future Me’ a programme delivered with local partners and employers offering a range of opportunities for young people to engage directly with employers through video conferencing.
Future Me shows the positive impact two-way interactions with local employers can stimulate conversation about career pathways, the personal journey of the employee and the value young people place on their honesty and authenticity. It also creates that space to talk about employability skills, resilience and share business insights.
Whilst these new ways of working do present inevitable challenges – time available for careers and Careers Leaders, the stability of certain sectors and the scale of experiences of the workplace, we’ve seen through the Careers Hub superb innovation like Unbox Your Future, more collaborative ways of working and a coherent local message about how we can still inspire young people and prepare them for the world of work.
Businesses engaging with Education
Many local businesses understand the importance of engagement with careers education in their own organisations and so this is not one-way traffic into the classroom. As we move through analysing the economic shock towards creating short-term recovery plans into developing our long-term economic recovery strategy it is clear that the skills agenda sits at the heart of this.
The Careers Hub and the EAN is intrinsic to economic recovery including developing the talent pipeline for high technology locally important sectors including Space, Low Carbon and Advanced Manufacturing. We find ourselves heavily investing time and resources into developing our World of Work suite of resources to get these messages into the classroom. But the interesting shift here is that this is what schools are also asking us for. Careers Leaders in Schools coming to the LEP Careers Hubs for LMI is certainly a powerful combination which will undoubtedly impact on young people’s views of the local employment and skills landscape.
Without our young people with the right skills, the right careers advice and employability skills we may never truly recover.
So, what does this look like in terms of impact? The Hub is a stable community of practice and remains fully engaged through COVID. We’ve seen significant progress against the majority of Gatsby benchmarks with a 15% increase alone on Benchmark 1 (A Stable Careers Programme) and over 75% of Hub schools fully meeting Benchmark 6 (Encounters with Employers and Employees).
Through strategic careers planning with schools they can understand the need for local LMI that they can use in the classroom, engage forums for peer-to-peer networking and more recently virtual marketplaces for them to talk directly to other Post 16 providers, aligning their transition plans for the best positive destination for their young people.
The Careers Hub is hard-wired into our recovery plans and Local Industrial Strategy. Our Lead Careers Hub School sits on our Skills Advisory Panel and the CEC National Headteachers Advisory Group along with an Enterprise Adviser. We have an Enterprise Adviser and Cornerstone Employer on our LEP’s Main Board and our Skills Team works hand in hand with our EAN team. We believe this level of connectivity is critical in ensuring a fully integrated approach to playing out the key messages to local employers and Careers Leaders on the critical role of the Careers Hub.
One could argue that without a Careers Hub with a clear vision the local cohesiveness between careers education and the business community would remain fragmented. From the inception of the Enterprise Adviser Network in 2015 as the ‘new kid on the block’ we are now fully integrated into the local careers landscape. Without the partnerships facilitated through the Hub’s Governance Group there would be a worsening mismatch of skills supply and demand and we would certainly not be doing the best by our young people, Careers Leaders, schools or the business community.
Gerarde Manley Careers Hub Manager LLEP.
"Without our young people with the right skills, the right careers advice & employability skills we may never truly recover."