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Business volunteers from the Careers & Enterprise Company’s Enterprise Adviser Network were delighted to host a visit with Department for Education Permanent Secretary Jonathan Slater and members of the local Youth Council in Hastings, to share best practice and discuss opportunities for better connecting young people and employers in the area.

The visit was hosted by local cable management supplier Marshall Tufflex, one of 40+ cornerstone employers who have committed to improving social mobility in the Government’s 12 opportunity areas.

The Permanent Secretary was joined by Enterprise Advisers Steve Baldry (Marshall Tufflex) and Rob Lowes (General Dynamics) as well as East Sussex County Council representatives who lead the Enterprise Adviser Network locally. Careers Leads from Claverham Community College and ARK Helenswood Academy also attended and shared their experiences of being part of the Company’s 1,700-strong Network helping to prepare young people for the world of work.

Claudia Harris, Chief Executive, The Careers & Enterprise Company said:

“Today’s visit is a great example of our work in action - joining the dots between educators, young people and employers in the areas of greatest need. “It was brilliant to hear from Steve and Rob, two local employers and Enterprise Advisers, talking about their work to support Helenswood Academy and Claverham Community College respectively with their careers and employer engagement plans. There is already evidence of a significant increase in interest in STEM subjects among the students exposed to these fantastic companies through our network. We are delighted to see first-hand how our network is raising the aspirations of young people and better connecting them with potential employers.”

Permanent Secretary, Jonathan Slater said:

“It was great to hear about the work employers, schools, East Sussex County Council and the Careers & Enterprise Company are doing in partnership to connect young people with job opportunities in Hastings “It was a pleasure to hear from some of those young people - members of the Hastings Youth Council shared some great thoughts, and I'm inspired to hear from such an articulate, insightful and clearly talented group of young people."

Brandon Ellis, pupil at Sussex Coast College and Member of the Hastings Youth Council said:

"Today was a great opportunity to get my voice heard by important organisations rather than just my mum. I never thought I would be able to talk about my future, I'm not the best academically but can learn if it's hands on. I really want to be a chippy. Hopefully next year I can do an apprenticeship as a carpenter" Steve Baldry, Enterprise Adviser and HR Manager, Marshall Tufflex said: “We are very much focused on working with schools and bringing the classroom into the workplace, showing manufacturing and factories for what they are - fun and exciting places to work. Without manufacturing and engineers all of those products we rely on today simply would not exist.”

Opportunity areas

Alongside Hastings, the other Opportunity Areas are Blackpool, Bradford, Derby, Doncaster, Fenland and East Cambridgeshire, Hastings, Ipswich, Norwich, Oldham, North Yorkshire Coast, Stoke-on-Trent and West Somerset. These areas have been identified as being the country’s ‘cold spots’ when it comes to social mobility and will benefit from a share of £72 million to help local children get the best start in life.