The West Kent Enterprise Adviser Network, a scheme to inspire and prepare young people for the world of work, was launched at an event in West Kent College’s MAC Theatre on the 28th July.
Jointly delivered by The West Kent Partnership and the Hadlow Group, the initiative will see enthusiastic, inspirational and strategic-thinking business leaders - Enterprise Advisers - being matched with local schools to share their experience and make a lasting positive impact on the futures of young people.
Schools are supported through the Network to develop an enterprise and employer engagement strategy that includes activities and information that promotes career paths and employability activities and are empowered through their Enterprise Adviser to engage with businesses in their local community.
The West Kent Partnership has secured funding from The Careers & Enterprise Company which it and The Hadlow Group, will match to deliver the scheme.
Nicolas Heslop, Chairman of the West Kent Partnership, said:
"The purpose of this initiative is to create powerful, lasting connections between local businesses and identified schools. On the one hand, it will address the skills needs of our local economy but equally important is the potential to improve outcomes and provide greater opportunities for our young people – the workforce of the future.
The West Kent Enterprise Adviser Network will provide strategic input from business to schools and facilitate the development of effective employer engagement plans. Essentially, Advisers are the catalysts acting as a mentor to help schools raise student aspirations. This is an opportunity for business people to help connect schools to local businesses, develop leadership skills and support the local community."
Mark Lumsdon-Taylor, Group Deputy CEO and Principal, The Hadlow Group, added:
"It is an accepted fact that the more times a young person is exposed to the world of work, the less likely they are to become unemployed or not in education, employment or training. As the local further education college for the area, we offer a range of qualifications at all levels to help young people take that next step into the world of work and improve their career opportunities. We are therefore delighted to support this initiative and look forward to working with the adviser network and businesses to raise the aspirations of our young people and equip the local economy with a talented, well qualified, workforce."
Business people who are interested in the opportunity will be able to find out more at the launch event on 28 July. Interest can be registered with Wendy Wood, West Kent Partnership Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
The West Kent Partnership
The West Kent Partnership is a joint initiative between local business, councils, and other partners and operates as the strategic economic partnership covering the local authority areas of Sevenoaks, Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge & Malling. The Partnership addresses economic, skills, transport and infrastructure issues to create a stronger West Kent economy.
West Kent Priorities for Growth adopted by the partnership in October 2015 identified a need for
developing a dedicated resource and West Kent programme as a single point of contact to forge closer and effective links between education/learning providers and local businesses, including addressing the need to promote apprenticeships, work experience and internships relevant to the needs of local employers;
Enterprise Advisers will be supported by a West Kent Enterprise Co-ordinator who will be employed by Sevenoaks District Council on behalf of The West Kent Partnership and be supported by Kent County Council Skills and Employability Team. The West Kent Network will benefit from working closely with the Kent Coastal Schools Network already in place.
The Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC)
CEC is a government initiative to help address the gaps in enterprise education. Pilots were delivered in 2014 and since 2015 LEPs have been able to bid for match funding from CEC to deliver Enterprise Adviser Networks (EANs). Each network is designed to comprise 20 volunteer business advisers matched to 20 schools. Advisers help shape the future workforce by advising school leaders on how to develop strategies to create long-term partnerships with local businesses and link them into their own business networks. Each EAN is developed and managed by a co-ordinator who ensures that all the experience, contacts and innovation from advisers and schools within the network is harnessed and shared for the benefit of the local area.