Nottingham City Council is consulting with head teachers over a new strategy to get more school leavers ready for work.

Every primary, secondary and special school in the City would deliver activities to develop their pupils’ employability skills, under the new proposals.

The City Council is proactively working with partners across Nottingham to support young people and provide them with the information they need to develop the wider employability skills that employers are looking for from their future workforce. Much of this 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.

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

It is important that children start interacting with employers early so they can understand what work is like and what it can offer.

When they leave school all young people should be able to show how they have worked with employers to develop their employability skills – even as early as primary school.

The City Council is committed to delivering two priorities:

  1. Ensure that all young people have had 10 contacts with employers by the time they leave full-time education, through participation in a co-ordinated Employability and Careers Advice programme
  2. Increase the number of employers engaging with schools and supporting young people in developing the skills they need for the workplace

Councillor 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.

“The Council recognises it is well placed to help schools and employers build the relationships that will support the development of these skills. We have made funding available to schools to enable them to develop and deliver comprehensive ‘Employability and Careers’ programmes that all of their pupils can participate in.

“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.”

Significant progress has been achieved since Nottingham City Council started working on this agenda in 2014. The following activities and projects have all been developed to help schools and employers support the development of young peoples’ employability schools.

1. Nottingham Jobs Pledge
Launched in April 2014, the aim of the Pledge is to encourage local employers to reduce unemployment by offering jobs and training to local residents – one of the channels to this is working with schools to support the development of young people’s understanding of the world of work. To date over 350 employers have signed the Pledge.

2. Nottingham City Council’s Early Years to Employment Strategy
Developed in May 2014, this strategy states that more needs to be done to ease young people’s transition from education into work, giving employers access to an appropriately skilled workforce. When they leave full-time education, alongside qualifications, young people also need aspirations, an understanding of employer requirements and the necessary skills to make their next step a reality.

3. The Nottingham Education Business Partnership –
In September 2014, Nottingham City Council engaged Futures Advice, Skills and Employment to develop and deliver an Education Business Partnership for Nottingham. Aspire, as it is known, was launched in March 2015 and is working closely with schools and employers. The City Council will continue to invest in the programme, to increase the number of relationships between employers and schools and to enhance the scope and quality of Employability and Careers Advice schemes.

4. The D2N2 Employability Framework
In July 2014, D2N2 LEP commissioned the University of Derby and the Mansfield In July 2014, The D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership commissioned the University of Derby and the Mansfield Learning Partnership to work with local employers to identify the key skills needed for young people to progress into employment.
5. Nashville to Nottingham
In April 2015, The Edge Foundation (sponsors of Bulwell Academy) invited representatives from Nashville (USA) to Nottingham to inform local stakeholders about how they have redesigned their school system around the needs of its employers and the local labour market. The Foundation is keen to work with Nottingham schools to introduce aspects of this delivery model locally. In July 2015, Nottingham City Council submitted a proposal outlines how we would like to work in

6. Government Prioritisation of Employability Skills and Careers Advice in Schools
In March 2015, the Government issued the Careers guidance and inspiration in schools, which outlines the new statutory duties for schools. It also includes recommendations to enable schools to provide a quality careers offer to all their learners. For example, the recommendation that all schools should work towards a quality award for careers education, information, advice and guidance.

7. National Careers Services’ Careers Inspiration Project
Futures Advice, Skills and Employment is the Prime Contractor for the National Careers Service. Part of this work includes the delivery of the Careers Inspiration Programme. The aim of this programme is to work with schools to connect them with employers and intermediaries. This support includes information about how to develop work related experiences for young people, how to access appropriate labour market information, access to lesson plans and access to support including website and telephone helplines for young people.