The Careers & Enterprise Company has recently announced the successful recipients of its £1.5 million Opportunity Area Fund.
These are invested in programmes across the second wave of Opportunity Areas, including Doncaster and surrounding areas to help thousands of young people in the region prepare for the fast-changing world of work.
The funding was allocated to programmes that can demonstrate their effectiveness in working with the young people in greatest need of support and follows on from the first wave of funding in 2016.
In total, the investment will support 21 organisations across the country delivering tried and tested programmes to over 143,000 young people that focus on careers and enterprise activities, including work experience, enterprise education, volunteering and skills development.
This comes at a time when careers provision is in the spotlight with the government launching their Careers Strategy in December 2017 and an emphasis on schools to ensure they are meeting the Gatsby Benchmarks. This funding will help schools and colleges in the local area address gaps in their careers and enterprise provision and ensure that young people have access to the employer encounters they need to prepare for their futures.
One of the successful recipients of the fund is Doncaster Chamber’s Skills Academy Programme that works across Doncaster borough to provide employer-led skills days, industry visits, career fairs, and work placements.
“The funding is crucial for enhancing Doncaster Skills Academy’s offer to connect young people with local businesses so they can learn about the diverse career opportunities available to them in Doncaster and further afield, understand the skills and qualifications needed for certain professions and roles, and make informed decisions about employment opportunities, which in turn will benefit local businesses and the wider economy,” said Tina Slater, head of business and education, Doncaster Chamber.
The Doncaster Skills Academy was created by Doncaster Chamber in 2014, in response to local businesses experiencing difficulties in the recruitment and retention of skilled staff. To help address this ‘skills gap’, Doncaster Skills Academy works with businesses and schools to better equip young people with the skills and information they require for when entering work. To date the Academy has supported 15 Doncaster secondary schools, over 18,500 students, and worked with over 300 businesses volunteers to deliver different themed activities covering Awareness & Aspirations, Employability and Work Readiness, Financial Awareness, and Enterprise & Commerciality.
CEO of The Careers & Enterprise Company, Claudia Harris, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to invest £1.5 million to support proven careers and enterprise programmes across the second wave of Opportunity Areas.
The Opportunity Areas remain a primary focus in our ongoing work to tackle social mobility. Since the launch of the first Opportunity Areas Fund we have launched our Cornerstone Employer initiative which now has over 50 businesses working to ensure that young people are fully prepared for the world of work.
“With young people needing at least one employer encounter per year whilst still at schools or college, this funding will go a long way to helping providers and schools prepare them for their futures.”