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PREPARING AND INVESTING

My name is Andy Lovatt – and I am an Enterprise Adviser for Loreto High School in Chorlton, Greater Manchester.

I am also the CEO of The White Room Digital Consultancy.

I established an initiative called ‘Digital Advantage’ – where we host pop-up digital agencies in schools.

Young people from 14 to 18 to work in teams to build digital business propositions.

This includes building a website, brand, content, a marketing strategy, a business model, looking at partners and developing a three-minute film about the product.

Sometimes, the work can be complex.

But we do this to make sure that young people working in the business have a proper, first-hand experience of what it’s like to work in an agency.

Usually we hold a little celebration event at the end, they have a graduation, we give them feedback on their work and we have ‘awards’ for their best ideas.

The winners get £3,000 of investment to take their business to the next level.

SUPPORTING EVERY STUDENT

We’ve recently been working in Manchester and Lancashire on Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provision. We customised the Digital Advantage programme for SEND.

This has had a remarkable impact.

The best example of this was a cohort of young people with SEND who developed an app to help other young people with autism to transfer from school to adult life.  We’ve now got £10,000 investment to develop this further, and we’ve got an app developer on board.

This is anticipated to be a hugely successful product.

As well as develop the app, we’re now developing our SEND work more widely. In the summer, groups of SEND young people came first, second and third among all groups of students for our awards.

We run the initiative as an agency – and we connect the young people to potential employers who could utilise their talents.

We’re marrying the talents of those young people to businesses in this rapidly growing industry in Greater Manchester.

EVERYBODY KNOWS SOMEBODY

The ability to adapt careers education to meet the needs of all students is a key skill that every Enterprise Adviser should have.

I always strive to share these skills with other people, because understanding young people – and how they learn, is key attribute to good careers education. 

I share my experience and exchange advice with other Enterprise Advisers, which has increased my contacts across different business networks. As a result of working with the school, they are engaging with the business community, aligning careers strategy with emerging sectors, and are performing better on all the Compass and Tracker indicators.

We’re now working with 40 schools across Greater Manchester and Lancashire. One hundred and fifty of the young people we worked with have applied for our apprenticeships. We also point them to other employers and apprenticeship providers.

It has been more successful than envisaged – and has become a business in its own right.