Funding to improve careers advice at Berwick Academy

Education charity Future First has been awarded government funding to extend its work improving the career ambition and employability skills of Berwick Academy students.

By Ian Smith
Thursday, 28 March, 2019, 09:13
View of Berwick Academy.

The money from The Careers and Enterprise Company will link pupils with former students in work or higher education who can act as inspirational role models.

The alumni volunteers will provide employability workshops, networking opportunities and advise on the skills needed to succeed in work.

The new funding of £279,000, for 85 state schools and colleges nationwide, will extend Future First’s existing work to regions where social mobility is low and careers advice is lacking, including the North East.

Future First research shows alumni can transform students’ motivation by acting as relatable role models grounded in the community, showing current students that ‘people like me’ can succeed.

Matt Lent, chief executive of Future First said: “Students cannot be what they cannot see. It is essential to open students’ eyes to the breadth of work opportunities available. Alumni who have a similar background, perhaps even sat at the same desk, have a transformative effect in broadening the horizons and raising the aspirations of young people.”

The scheme aims to sign up 8,500 volunteer alumni in a diverse range of fields for assemblies and workshops, work experience and intensive world at work days which will broaden students’ work horizons and motivate them to engage in their own learning.

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School staff will be trained how to successfully harness alumni experience and skills to support current students, meeting each school’s individual needs to build a sustainable alumni network of hundreds of employees and employers.

The funding from The Careers and Enterprise Company, set up by the government in 2015 to transform careers support and guidance for young people, comes at a time when schools are required to improve focus on careers provision and ensure that young people have access to the employer encounters they need to prepare for their futures.

Claudia Harris, Chief Executive Officer of The Careers and Enterprise Company, said, ‘ The research shows that the most important thing with role models is that they are relatable, that a young person looks at that working adult and thinks, yes that’s a path that I can connect to. Schools and colleges have access to an amazing network in their alumni, people who feel passionately about the young people in those schools and colleges so why wouldn’t they take advantage of it….making sure that all young people get access to those relatable role models we know make all the difference.’

North East schools taking part include Beacon Hill School Sixth Form in Wallsend, Bedlington Academy, Berwick Academy, John Spence Community High School in North Shields, Southmoor Academy in Sunderland and St Thomas More RC Academy in North Shields.

Future First is the only organisation working in all 12 of the government’s opportunity areas - Blackpool, Bradford, Derby, Doncaster, Fenland and East Cambridgeshire, Hastings, Ipswich. Norwich, Oldham, Scarborough. Stoke on Trent and West Somerset.