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Emily Tanner
Emily Tanner, Head of Research

Emily Tanner, Head of Research, provides an overview of our Enterprise Adviser Network evaluation, including who Enterprise Advisers are and what they do, what motivates them and how they think about impact.


At the heart of what we do

Enterprise Advisers play a crucial role in our mission to inspire and preparing young people for the world of work.

Our Enterprise Adviser Network matches schools and colleges with senior business volunteers to help create powerful, lasting partnerships between schools, colleges, employers and careers programme providers. Over the past four years, the number of Enterprise Advisers has grown to over 2,600 and close to 2,000 schools and colleges are now matched with an Enterprise Adviser.

At the end of last year, we commissioned SQW to survey Enterprise Advisers - in total, 757 Enterprise Advisers from across all Local Enterprise Partnership (28% of all Enterprise Advisers). Here’s a summary of what we found.


Who are Enterprise Advisers?

Enterprise Advisers are typically senior leaders or managers and professionals. A higher proportion of them are women (54%) and the research indicates from the age categories that Enterprise Advisers have had significant experience of the workplace.

We also know from wider evaluation that Enterprise Advisers are recruited from all sectors of the economy including professional and financial services, manufacturing, technology and transport. And they come from firms large and small – well over half of Enterprise Advisers come from SMEs.


Enterprise Advisers are going above and beyond

We ask that Enterprise Advisers commit around eight hours per month with their school or college. Most were meeting or exceeding expectations for time spent on the role.

We are also gaining rich insight into how they are supporting their schools and colleges. A key focus is to advise on careers strategy and to evaluate existing provision. Another prominent part of their role is to connect with other employers using their business contacts and networks. Our Enterprise Advisers are also role modelling delivery by offering careers activity directly to pupils. 

Enterprise Advisers are also investing time to engage with their peers to learn from each other and to share best practice.


Enterprise Advisers are overwhelmingly positive about their role and their contribution

The support network around Enterprise Advisers is an important part of this success. Well over 80 per cent were satisfied with the induction and training for the role, and with the support received for delivery and intend to continue in their role over the next year. 86 per cent of Enterprise Advisers were matched to school or college within three months of joining the network. And we know that Enterprise Advisers are actively encouraging others to take up this role.  

We looked at the motivating factors for becoming an Enterprise Adviser. Two stood out: to contribute to the local community; and, to help improve outcomes for young people.  The majority of Enterprise Advisers surveyed believed that their contributions were helping to achieve these outcomes and report positive change in their school or college.

Other achieved outcomes included raising awareness of the school or college to local employers; embedding the school or college in local employer networks; creating work experience and job opportunities for SEND pupils; and improving teachers’ understanding of the local labour market.



A striking feature of this survey was the unexpected benefits that Enterprise Advisers experienced in this role. At a business level these included the opportunity to raise awareness of the sector in which they work and helping to develop future pipeline of skills for their industry.

Enterprise Advisers also reported gains in their personal and professional development and cited communication, mentoring, resilience and team building amongst the skills and competencies learnt or nurtured in this role.


Ongoing support 

The survey highlights challenges in their role including in aligning their schedules with school and college timetables and supporting needs around capacity. Enterprise Coordinators and Careers Leaders both play a role in addressing these challenges and we will continue to work locally to support our partners to build these relationships to deliver the brilliant work they do. 

The time, energy and expertise of our Enterprise Advisers represents a substantial investment from business leaders, for which we are incredibly grateful.

Enterprise Advisers are making a positive difference to young people.


Join the movement

Hear from the experiences of one our Enterprise Advisers Colin, and the school he works at with Head Teacher, Michael. 

Become an Enterprise Adviser.