Nottingham City Council is launching a new plan with schools, aimed at getting more pupils ready for work.

City schools are being asked to sign up to the Employability in Schools Strategy where pupils have an opportunity to meet with an employer in every school year from Primary onwards.

The council has already been supporting 16 to 18 year olds to get them to stay in education, enter employment or training. However, in order that local employers have access to a skilled workforce, young people need to be ready for the world of work, starting from primary school.

The City Council has two main goals:

  1. To make sure all young people have had 10 contacts with employers by the time they leave full-time education. This is done through a Employability and Careers Advice programme
  2. Increase the number of employers working with schools and supporting young people in developing the skills they need for the workplace

It is important that children start meeting and learning from employers early so they can understand what work is like and what it can offer. All young people should meet with employers regularly as part of their primary school experience.

The Confederation of Business Industry (CBI) survey has found that around half of employers believe that young people don’t have the skills they need to start a new job.

One third of Nottingham City’s young people live in workless households and some will

have no interaction with employers or ever leave their immediate local area, meaning many have no idea about the opportunities and careers available. It’s important that young people are shown the benefits of having a job.

Cllr Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Schools, said: “Ensuring that every young person in Nottingham City develops the skills they need to succeed in a job is one of the most important challenges we face and one of the Council’s top priorities.

“One of the best ways for young people to develop employment skills is for them to start interacting with employers during their time at school. The more they are exposed to employers, the better they will understand what behaviours and skills they will be expected to have developed by the time they end formal education.

“I am sure that the City Council’s ambitions are shared by Nottingham’s young people, their parents, teachers and employers and am looking forward to working with all of these groups to ensure that the City’s future workforce is well prepared to take advantage of our growing local economy.”

Employability StrategyAn example of best practice in the city is Bulwell Academy, for years they have helped improve the chances of local children through work
experience, including different activities designed to introduce students to the wide range of 21st century jobs available to them. Paul Halcro, Principal at The Bulwell Academy, said: “We know the importance of encouraging young people to meet with employers throughout their education.

“We have developed an award-winning ‘Employment Intelligence’ programme which not only prepares young people to apply for jobs and prepare their CV; it also gives them practical experience of the world of work.  This activity, together with a packed calendar of visits to universities, businesses and careers-related activities really helps to inspire our students whilst ensuring they make realistic choices.

“Each year, starting as soon as they join us in year 7, each student knows they’ll have lots of opportunities to meet with businesses, experience personal development activities and grow their knowledge of the working world.

“Our strong business partnerships with enthusiastic employers such as Capital One, Nottingham City Homes, The Yorkshire Bank and the Civil Service, to name a few, has helped our young people to have the opportunity to achieve their potential and be equipped with the skills to be successful in the modern, global economy.”

The City Council is already working with partners in Nottingham to support young people and provide them with the information they need to develop the skills that employers are looking for. Much of this support and activity is being carried out by Aspire – an education business partnership in Nottingham which is funded by the City Council and delivered by Futures Advice, Skills and Employment.

Speaking about the launch, construction & engineering giant AECOM, based in Beeston said: “Whilst we highly value traditional academic learning routes within schools and endorse recent government initiatives to promote achievement in academic subjects particularly including the STEM agenda, we also support more vocational engagement and work with many of the partners engaging with schools   to promote these skills and behaviours.

“We see that, particularly within our inner cities, there is a demand for a robust employability strategy in schools to help contextualise learning, widen understanding of careers, and better prepare young people to take up those opportunities that are available.  For many young people within disadvantaged wards there are significant social obstacles to be overcome, and it is only by investing to raise aspiration and awareness that equality of access can truly be achieved.

“The Nottingham City Council Vision of a standard commitment for Schools Employability and Careers Advice, is a welcome step in the right direction and we have signed the Nottingham Jobs pledge to demonstrate the continuity of our support in this area.”

You can read the Employability Strategy here