Matchmaking Scheme Hits Magic 50: Business and Education’s Perfect Partnership


The ‘Big 50’ really is the magic number for a regional matchmaking scheme that pairs volunteers from the business world with schools and colleges to boost skills.

The first milestone of 50 matches has been made in Sheffield City Region between employers and educational institutions through the Enterprise Adviser Network programme.

The programme, which has a target of matching 80 employers with 80 schools and colleges, aims to bridge the gap between education and work and promote the skills needed by the workforce of the future.

Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership wants to match a volunteer Enterprise Adviser from the business and public sector with every secondary and special school and college in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.

Nigel Brewster, Vice Chair, Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Supporting education to prepare young people for future jobs is critical to the success of our regional economy. I am delighted that the Enterprise Adviser Network programme has received such a positive response from the business community. Passing the halfway mark and now having 50 employers actively engaged with schools and colleges is brilliant.”

Enterprise Advisers are helping schools and colleges to prepare young people for future jobs and careers, and develop a whole school strategy for careers, enterprise and employer engagement. They will also link schools and colleges to local business contacts and networks.

One company that has signed up to the scheme is Henry Boot Construction, established more than 125 years ago, and one of the UK's leading property investment and development, land development and construction companies.

Adeana Raper, Employment and Skills Manager, Henry Boot Construction, has been matched with Birley Community College on Thornbridge Avenue in Sheffield as well as Horizon Community College on Dodworth Road in Barnsley.

Adeana said: "Schools often have misperceptions about the construction sector. They think of trades and assume it’s a low-skilled industry. In practice, there are jobs for all levels and the industry needs young people who are disciplined and motivated, with drive and ambition.”

She added: “We want to see young people who have the confidence to realise their potential, and that requires people behind them to provide support, including employers working with schools. What excites me about this opportunity is that it’s strategic, working with the headteacher and senior leadership team to change perceptions.”

Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership was one of five regions nationally that took part in a pilot phase of the programme last year. The pilot scheme was a success and is now being rolled out across the UK.

The programme, supported by the government funded Careers and Enterprise Company, is recruiting volunteers from employers in all sectors to work with headteachers and senior leadership teams in schools and colleges to improve careers and enterprise education.

Volunteers need to be senior and well-connected professionals or business people who can help to increase the quality and quantity of careers and enterprise learning. They will receive support from Enterprise Coordinators who will help to ensure that Enterprise Advisers have the information and training they need to make their role a success.

Careers Enterprise Co 150

Visit The Careers & Enterprise Company website for information about the national programme


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