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doncaster event

On Tuesday 12th April, businesses, Enterprise Advisers, Schools and Colleges in Doncaster were invited to a breakfast event to hear about the new National College of High Speed Rail (NCHSR) in Doncaster. The morning was an opportunity to network with like-minded colleagues and representatives from local schools and sixth forms so it provided a valuable opportunity to raise awareness about the Sheffield City Region Enterprise Adviser Network.

The NCHSR, opening September 2017, will offer important careers-led education opportunities for young people across the Sheffield City Region, including Level 4 and 5 courses and apprenticeships, as well as opportunities for existing businesses to upskill their workforce.

The event opened with a welcome from Doncaster Chamber CEO, Dan Fell, who stressed the importance of initiatives such as the Sheffield City Region Enterprise Adviser Network in aiding young people to make the best career decisions and get into the right jobs.

Joanne Carr, Education Manager for HS2, then followed with a brief overview of the HS2 rail project and discussed the positive impacts it would have for the region. The HS2 high speed railway will be built in two phases, phase 1 connecting London to the West Midlands and phase 2 connecting Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield. The new NCHSR in Doncaster will address the technical skills gaps the UK is currently facing. It hopes to establish vocational training courses that are on par with alternative academic routes, offer world class training opportunities and give graduates great prospects.

The event closed with the opportunity for businesses to find out more about the Enterprise Adviser Network by talking to their local Enterprise Coordinators; Eleanor Churchward and Tina Slater. Information sharing events, like this one in Doncaster, will continue to form part of the networking opportunities for Enterprise Advisers.

IMG 3959 cropPictured: Adeana Raper, Henry Boot Construction, with Dave Burnham, Assistant Headteacher, and Jane Atkin, Progression Co-ordinator.

Adeana Raper is Employment and Skills Manager at Henry Boot Construction. Henry Boot PLC, established over 125 years ago, is one of the UK's leading and long-standing property investment and development, land development and construction companies. Adeana has been appointed a Sheffield City Region Enterprise Adviser working with Birley Community College, a popular secondary school situated in the south east of Sheffield.

The first planning meeting has already taken place and agreed that Adeana will help the school to put on a series of speaker sessions called ‘Working Lunch’ to demonstrate the many different careers available in Henry Boot, everything from working on site to running social media. Volunteers from the company will be going into the school during the summer term to speak to students interested in different careers, to tell them the route they took from education to their current job and what an average day at work is like for them. The volunteers will explain what a young person interested in construction should be considering now in order to progress. Students will be picked out and invited to speak to the volunteers during their lunch break. Then over the summer Adeana is going to be working with the school on a more strategic level to identify where every subject could have some business input to show how the academic concepts can be used in work place environments. For example, how a planner or builder uses geometry, or why geography knowledge is important when selecting a site to build. The idea is to get a full diary of employer interactions set up within curriculum time across the next academic year.

Commenting on the decision to become an Enterprise Adviser, Adeana says, "Schools often have misperceptions about the construction; 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. We want to see young people have the confidence to realise their potential, and that requires people behind them to support them, 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.”

Charlotte Scothern and Louise crop

Charlotte Scothern, an independent retailer from Rotherham, has been matched with Newman Special School and joined Rotherham’s SEN Dream Team – a group of Enterprise Advisers working with special schools who want to create more work and volunteering experiences for special needs students.

Charlotte runs Patchwork Pig on Rotherham’s High Street and wanted to work with Newman Special School because one of her relatives was a former pupil at the school. She said: “I think that everyone has something to offer and I’m interested in helping work out what job roles/tasks would be particularly accessible for SEN students, and helping to make a business case for more placements and volunteering. I like looking at it from the angle of what the student could add to a business, rather than them being a burden. There are good examples of types of tasks and roles, which might have strong elements of repetition and routine, which are hard to fill for some companies or are hard to retain staff in, but which would be a great opportunity for SEN students.”

Louise Anderson, Assistant Head of Newman Special School, said: “It’s great to have Charlotte on board, we are keen to work with her to benefit our students and to further develop the school's work experience / careers provision. Too many students with SEND that are capable of work or volunteering don’t get the opportunity, I’m excited that a group of schools and Enterprise Advisers want to work together on this issue.”

hilltop slider 1

Rob Mulvey, Co-Headteacher at Hilltop Special School, and Mike Smith, Lieutenancy Officer for South Yorkshire and director of a Mental Health Trust, hope to work together to improve arrangements for long term work placements and employment through the Enterprise Adviser programme.

Rob describes how too often, the placements identified by school were dependent on a relationship with an individual in an organisation, rather than being embedded in the Corporate Social Responsibility policy of a business or organisation. It means that the school spends significant time and resources managing this workplace churn and when sympathetic staff move on, placements are in jeopardy.

Rob said: "It might be that someone knows someone in a shop or supermarket, and their relative has special needs and therefore they'll help pull some strings and facilitate a work placement. But the drive is coming from that person, rather than that organisation. We'd love to see big companies get on board with this programme and offer a sustainable number of placements across a number of schools. It would be a more systematic approach and save time and resources for schools, and benefit more students."

Hilltop student James (pictured middle) is a success story. He has an impressive work record: Undertaking his fifth work placement, he has found a niche working one day a week at Dinnington Library. James helps with sorting books, displays, tidying, cleaning and Rhyme Time. He is supported by his work ‘buddy’ Alison, a member of staff who helps him integrate, supervises his work and ‘job carves’ – breaks down long tasks into manageable chunks for him to complete. James loves his placement and aims to maintain his placements when he leaves Hilltop for college. He said: “I don’t want to lose my placement. I’d be really sad. I like going there.”

“We need more Alisons”

Rob said that Alison’s support to make the placement work for the library and for James was key: “At the heart of every good placement is a person like Alison. Alison is there for James, she is kind and patient, and she’s thought about tasks for him that are manageable for him and helpful to her. Basically, we need more Alisons and we need more companies to make having an Alison a part of their Corporate Social Responsibility policy.

Dream Team:

Hilltop’s Enterprise Adviser, Mike Smith, is one of three volunteers who is working with Rotherham Special Schools to help make a difference. He said: “I hope that the Careers and Enterprise Company nationally, and the Enterprise Advisers Network locally, can help inspire big companies to get involved and provide work placements. It really stuck with me what Rob said at the network launch – ‘I’ve got a workforce no-one wants’ – it shouldn’t be like that. The opportunity to be in the world of work means everything to James. He’s developing his skills, he’s socialising, he feels valued. More students want and need that, and James shows that with a little support it is possible. Mike will be working with former Head of Enterprise at Sheffield Hallam University, Sheila Quairney, who has been matched with The Willows Special School, and Patchwork Pig owner Charlotte Scothern. As well as working with their individual schools, this 'Dream Team' will work together to try and make a difference to this important issue.

briefing event

Interest Grows in Sheffield for the Enterprise Adviser Network

On Wednesday 16th March Sheffield City Region employers and University departments were invited to attend Enterprise Advisor Network Briefing events. Two separate events were scheduled for the day and both were well attended, with nearly 20 different employers attending the morning event.

The event gave those that attended the opportunity to find out more about the programme, network with others who are interested in becoming Enterprise Advisers and informally discuss their potential involvement.

Chair of the Enterprise Adviser Network steering group, Mike Garnet-Jones from Sheffield City Council, opened the event with the question: ‘Why have you decided to attend today?’

A representative from Henry Boot, a UK-based construction company, commented: ‘We feel it’s important to engage with the community.’

This comment was the reiterated by a representative of Mantra: ‘CSR is very important to our company and it’s great to get involved with young people. We’re interested in any way we can give back to the community.’

Another attendee commented: ‘I’m happily retired and want to keep my brain working! I have worked as a manging consultant in the UK and overseas and throughout my career have built up a network of contacts. I’m conscious of the need for employer engagement and interactive learning, helping people to help themselves. I hope I can make a valuable contribution to a school.’

The event moved on to discussing the relationship these employers already had with schools. A representative for Keepmoat, one of the top UK housebuilding and construction companies, said he had seen first-hand that, ‘Employer engagement absolutely makes a difference to students.’

The event closed with the question: ‘What could you bring to the role of an Enterprise Adviser?’

Do you want to engage with your future workforce? Have you thought about becoming an enterprise advisor? Find out more about becoming an Enterprise Adviser on our about page by clicking here.

ean launch audience 1


Employers, schools and colleges gathered together on Friday 5th February to mark the official launch of the Sheffield City Region Enterprise Adviser Network. The event, which was held at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) Training Centre, was attended by nearly one hundred individuals interested in the programme, including representatives from The Careers & Enterprise Company and the Sheffield City Region (SCR) Local Enterprise Partnership.

The SCR Enterprise Adviser Network aims to match regional employers with local schools and colleges to help improve careers education and bridge the gap between young people’s studies and employment. The scheme works by an individual Enterprise Adviser giving strategic support to the headteacher and senior leadership team and linking the school or college to their network of employer contacts.

In attendance was Karleen Dowden from The Careers and Enterprise Company, who are the funding and supporting the national Enterprise Adviser Network Scheme. Karleen said, ‘The programme aims to use the expertise of employers in partnership with schools to inspire students.’ 

SCR-EAN Launch

The programme is already off to a fantastic start in the region with three matches made. The event was an opportunity for the schools and employers to be presented with their official certificates and to celebrate their new partnership. Bradfield School in Sheffield has been matched with Marie Cooper, Plant Manager and Director at Parker PEGL. St Pius X Catholic High School, Rotherham, has been matched with Diane Keay, Customer and Community Manager, and Andrew Chambers, General Manager at Mears Group. The final school, Hilltop Special School in Rotherham, has been matched with Mike Smith, Managing Director of MJS Business Consultancy Ltd. 

When asked why he had chosen to become an Enterprise Adviser, Mike Smith said, ‘Enterprise is about more than qualifications, it’s about attitude and a mind-set. It starts with young people and tomorrow’s successful employees and entrepreneurs haven’t even started school yet. I want to be able to help schools build that attitude in young people. I’d like to give the benefit of my skills, experience and networks, to help schools reflect on and improve their practice and provision and increase opportunities for young people.’

Andrew Chambers, Mears Group, said that as an Enterprise Adviser he felt, ‘We are very proud to be supporting this important programme. Helping broaden young people’s horizons and improve their skills and aspirations is crucial for them personally, and for the future of Rotherham. We would urge other businesses and schools to get involved.’




Careers Enterprise Co 150

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


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