Increase in volunteers supporting careers education in schools and colleges


There has been a surge in the number of people volunteering to support careers education in secondary schools and colleges, with more than half of volunteers at CEO or chair level.

This is according to figures from the Career and Enterprise Company, which showed over 1,300 employers are working with headteachers to help shape career programmes and employer engagement plans since it started operating 18 months ago.  

The company is an employer-led organisation that has been set up to inspire and prepare young people for the world of work. Volunteers are recruited through its enterprise adviser network, which aims to strengthen links between education and business to inspire young people about careers and the workplace.

The company said the figures mean volunteers have been paired with almost half of secondary schools and colleges in England, with a combined population of more than 1.3million students.

The figures also showed:

  • More than half of business volunteers hold a senior role in their organisation at CEO, chair, director, partner, section head or owner level
  • Volunteers have contributed more than 60,000 working hours of their time for free over the last year – adding £2million worth of value.
  • Volunteers come from a wide range of organisations such as the NHS, Microsoft, Capita, Lloyds, Capgemini, and GlaxoSmithKline, as well as a range of smaller organisations, start-ups and SMEs
  • Volunteers also come from a wide range of sectors with the top five industries made up of professional services, manufacturing, information services, financial services and education
  • 54% of business volunteers are men and 46% are women

Robert Halfon, apprenticeships and skills minister, said: “Introducing young people to a wide range of individuals from different backgrounds and career journeys is key to helping them raise aspirations and unlock their potential.

“We are transforming careers education by providing £90million to The Careers and Enterprise Company to continue their vital work. They have done a fantastic job in setting up such a vast volunteer network, working closely with schools and colleges.

“I would like to thank them and all the volunteers who have taken time out of their busy lives to help open our young people’s eyes to all the exciting opportunities that are available and I look forward to seeing the network expand and empower more young people to get on to the ladder of opportunity.”

Claudia Harris, chief executive of The Careers and Enterprise Company, added: “Research by Dr Anthony Mann shows that young people who have four encounters with the world of work are 86% less likely to be NEET – not in education, employment or training.

“Today far too many young people do not get this opportunity. In 60% of schools young people do not have any real engagement with the world of work. This is not because schools and colleges do not want support – it is because they often cannot access it.

“Our business volunteers – more than 50% of whom are CEOs or chairs – work with the leadership teams of schools and colleges to build careers and employer engagement plans. They help schools and colleges connect to local employers and access the best career and enterprise support.

“We are delighted by the growth in our network which now stands at more than 1,300 senior volunteers after just over 18 months in operation. This growth shows the commitment among employers of all sizes who stand ready and willing to help young people transition more effectively from education into the world of work.

“This is the start of a national movement and we look forward to seeing it continue to grow in the months and years to come.”

Monday, 6 March 2017

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