BLACK COUNTRY PROSPER MAGAZINE

PUBLISHED BY INTERACTIVE MAGAZINES FOR THE BLACK COUNTRY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

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Creative Industries Centre, University of Wolverhampton Science Park, Glaisher Drive, Wolverhampton, WV10 9TG

PROSPER MAGAZINE: ISSUE 02 | SECTOR FOCUS

PLEASE SIR, CAN WE GROW UP TO BE ENTREPRENEURS?

Schoolchildren in deprived areas are being given the chance to learn about enterprise as well as maths.

James Ludlow, the headteacher of the King’s Church of England School in Wolverhampton, often stops pupils in the corridor to ask them what they want to do in the future. For years, the answer has always been the same: “I don’t know, sir.”

The secondary school contends with some of the most complex conditions in the country for providing education. Its near-700 students are drawn from 40 different primary schools and speak more than 40 languages. One pupil who joined recently had escaped the war in Syria.

Pupils talk regularly to entrepreneurs and business leaders and are invited to work at local companies — including The Mount Hotel Country Manor.

Along with English, Maths and Science, pupils are being taught the skills required to start businesses and thrive as workers in a changing economy that values entrepreneurship as much as it does qualifications in traditional subjects.

King’s is part of a scheme run by the Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC), which was set up by the government in 2015 to improve careers education. More than 2,500 Enterprise Advisors now volunteer in schools and colleges across England, with the aim of giving kids their first taste of working with businesses.

The project has proved especially effective in deprived areas, where generational unemployment means young people have no chance to build a network of contacts to give them a leg-up into the world of work. A report released by the CEC last week showed schools in the Black Country, Humber and Tees Valley regions were among the most improved for careers education.

“It's given the whole school a big lift,” said James, who joined King’s in 2016 to help turn the school around. “There are some pupils here who can be very hard to reach. We’re telling them that they can do it — they can achieve.”

It is working, as well: a recent Ofsted report commended the school for its careers programme.

ENGINEERING ACADEMY HELPS TO BRIDGE SKILLS GAP FOR EMPLOYERS ACROSS THE REGION

INTERNATIONAL EVENT DIARY

Dudley College of Technology is meeting the current and future demand for higher-level technical skills in many sectors by working closely with employers across the region.  

We examine one of the College’s newest initiatives, it’s Engineering and Manufacturing Academy which launched recently, with the backing of local employers, to help identify young talented engineers and develop their skills to help bridge the skills gap for businesses across the region.

Learners from the Academy complete an initial 4-week technical training programme before moving on to an Apprenticeship or further full-time study and then securing a career in the Engineering or Manufacturing sectors.

The first cohort of 29 students completed their programme in September 2019 with all of them moving on to an apprenticeship with a local employer or enrolling on to a full-time programme of study. One of the first 14 who moved to an Apprenticeship at Hockley Pattern & Tool Co Ltd, was Derry Naylor, aged 16.

Derry said, “The programme was hands-on and practical, allowing me to learn many new skills which in turn allowed Hockley Pattern & Tool Co Ltd to employ me as an Apprentice something I’m really grateful for as I absolutely love my job.”

Principal at Dudley College of Technology, Neil Thomas told us, “I’m extremely pleased to see so many students from the Academy secure exciting Apprenticeships with local employers. I’m particularly delighted that in many cases this has been brought about by the flexible way in which the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has allowed businesses to fund placements through the Skills Deal.” 

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