Coventry and Warwickshire are to become two of 20 Careers Hubs, following an announcement from the Secretary of State. The expansion of the successful hub model follows news last year that careers support is improving across England and is now strongest in disadvantaged areas.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Careers Hubs will give every school and college in the area the opportunity to work together with universities, training providers, employers and career professionals. Each Hub brings together a group of up to 40 schools and colleges to improve careers support for young people in their area, through a relentless focus on best practice.
These are the first Hubs to be established in the area and the Warwickshire Careers Hub will be integrated with Warwickshire County Council's Skills for Employment Programme to provide a co-ordinated and coherent approach to careers activity in the county.
In September, The Careers & Enterprise Company launched the first 20 'Careers Hubs' across England.
Schools and colleges in this first wave of Careers Hubs are already outperforming the national average across all aspects of careers education nationally. After two terms, schools and colleges which are part of the first wave of Hubs are:
- outperforming the national average on every single one of the eight Gatsby Benchmarks of good careers guidance
- the majority (58%) are providing every student with regular encounters with employers
- the majority (52%) are providing every student with workplace experiences such as work experience, shadowing or workplace visits
The announcement today is for a second wave of 18 new and two expanded Careers Hubs, backed by a further £2.5m investment. Just over 1,300 secondary schools and colleges (around a quarter of those in England) will now benefit from being part of a Careers Hub.
Schools and colleges will have access to support and funding, including an expert ‘Hub Lead’ to help coordinate activity and build networks, a central fund to support employer engagement activities, and training for a ‘Careers Leader’ in each school and college.
Employers are vital to the Hub model’s success, with all Hubs required to demonstrate strong engagement amongst local businesses and a clear plan for increasing employer engagement.
As well as support from the CBI, more than 100 ‘Cornerstone Employers’ across the country have committed to driving and championing all-important connections to the world of work. Cornerstone Employers work with a specific Hub and underwrite careers provision in these areas.
The Careers Hubs are based on a model first piloted by the Gatsby Foundation and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) from 2015-17. Schools and colleges in the pilot made rapid progress against the Gatsby Benchmarks, and independent evaluation showed increased attainment and career readiness among students.
The Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education, said: “It is so important that young people get to know about a range of different jobs and careers so they can see the possible opportunities out there. Good careers education is such a valuable asset that helps children to explore future possibilities and go on to lead happy rewarding lives.
“Careers Hubs bring together schools, colleges, universities and employers to share their expertise and improve the careers education on offer to make sure young people have the information they need to make the most of their talents.
“Today’s investment will give thousands more young people access to expert careers support as they take those first exciting steps into their future.”
Marion Plant, Board Director of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to accelerate and build upon the careers education already taking place in schools and colleges in the area.
“Every school and college in Coventry and Warwickshire will have access to this additional support to enhance careers provision to ensure young people have the opportunities they need in the future.
“Improving the skills of young people will provide employers will the expertise they need and develop the next generation of talent which will also boost the local economy.”
Monica Fogarty, Chief Executive of Warwickshire County Council, said: “Warwickshire County Council welcomes this new funding which will build on and expand the work that we have been doing with our schools and colleges for a number of years through our Skills for Employment Programme.
“We know effective careers and employability advice and support are critical components of a successful labour market, while also providing clear social benefits, increasing the likelihood of successful employment outcomes and lifetime earnings.
“Ensuring that all our young people develop strong employability skills, and are provided with effective and appropriate careers advice and support, is a key priority for the County Council.”
Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are always encouraging business leaders to act as mentors and provide careers advice to senior management teams at schools and colleges and our involvement in the Careers Hub will be an extension of that.
“Employers play a crucial role in providing young people with experience of the world of work and we will be working with the CWLEP to identify Cornerstone Employers to urge leaders of SMEs and national organisations to give back to their communities in Coventry and Warwickshire to inspire young people in a wide range of sectors and give them valuable experience to help them decide on their future careers.
“The Chamber of Commerce is pleased to currently co-fund a Careers & Enterprise Post to ensure business engagement is central to the activity.”
Claudia Harris, CEO of The Careers & Enterprise Company, said: “Careers education is improving across the country. The accelerated progress we’re seeing in the first wave of Careers Hubs shows that this model is working and delivering for young people, with schools and colleges in this first wave of Careers Hubs already outperforming the national average across all aspects of careers education.
“We are delighted that the Government’s investment is supporting us to roll out this model to a quarter of schools and colleges in the country, helping more young people get the vital support and opportunities they need.”
Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) were invited to lead bids to establish Careers Hubs, with the applications judged on levels of need in an area and capacity to deliver. All bids were moderated by independent assessors.
The following LEPs were today announced as successful in their bids to establish a Careers Hub:
- Black Country
- Tees Valley
- Leeds (SEND Hub)
- West of England
- Thames Valley Berkshire
- North East x 2
- Swindon & Wiltshire
- Heart of the South West