This academic year in West Somerset, every student in year 7 to year 13 will receive at least one encounter with an employer, as part of the opportunity area programme.
Research has shown that a young person who has four or more encounters with an employer throughout their schooling is 86% less likely to be NEET and can earn up to 18% more during their career.
Following on from the success of last year, the CEC have funded another round of careers and enterprise activities for the students of West Somerset. One of the funded activities last academic year was the Young Enterprise Company Programme, which a group of year 10 students took part in. Mentored by a local marketing expert, they set up a real business making West Somerset themed 3D animal craft packs for children, which they sold at a trade fair and a festival. They came second in the competition, across the whole county.
This academic year, students at Danesfield and Minehead Middle Schools and West Somerset College will take part in apprentice challenge projects delivered by CSW Group. The students will work in teams to design a new product, market it and create a five minute presentation pitch. They are mentored by employees and employers.
Schools are also working closely with Cornerstone employers. Cornerstone employers are local businesses who are going above and beyond their normal involvement to offer careers and enterprise activities to the students in the area. Butlins are organising a speed networking event for all year 8 students at Minehead Middle School. The students will get a chance to meet at least ten different businesses and ask them questions about working for them including the fire service, National Parks, National Trust and Brook Foods.
The Onion Collective are running a similar programme for year 8 students at Danesfield, inviting businesses into PHSE lessons and giving the students a chance to ask them questions like how much they earn and whether they enjoy their jobs. A range of businesses have taken part so far including Singer Instruments, Channel Adventures and Contains Art.
Activities are already being planned for next academic year, including a ‘Bake-Off’ for all year 7 and 8 students at both middle schools, which will be organised by professional chefs from the Beach Hotel and Butlins. As part of this, students will be given information on career pathways into the hospitality industry.
We are always looking for local employees and employers to continue delivering meaningful encounters with the world of work to the young people of West Somerset, whether it be organising an activity or giving an hour of your time to support activities like mock interview days. If you are interested in being involved please email Rosa Lewis on firstname.lastname@example.org