WorldSkills UK awarded careers & education company grant to help young people achieve their potential.

Grant from The Careers and Enterprise Company to fund four project strands, each with WorldSkills UK Champions at their core and local experiential careers events planned for Manchester and Cambridge, plus national Skills Champions programme

WorldSkills UK, the not-for-profit organisation which champions world-class apprenticeships and technical skills, has been awarded a grant in the region of £400,000 from the £5 million investment fund created by The Careers and Enterprise Company. The award forms part of a national scheme to help prepare up to a quarter of a million 11-18 year olds across England for the world of work.

Working closely with the organisation’s Skills Champions network and local partners, WorldSkills UK will use the money to create three events reaching more than 13,500 people, which work with local employers and other partners. These events will mirror the success of the national Skills Show, in Manchester and Cambridge, and feature an increased focus on WorldSkills UK competitions. The Manchester event, which will target 8,000 visitors, will also include a WorldSkills UK team selection event for international competitions in 2017. Each will be tailored to meet local employer needs and priorities, with STEM subjects and careers will be at the heart of the Cambridge event.

In addition to the events, the grant will also be used to create and produce a unique careers and competitions resource pack for schools, which is interactive, engaging, accessible for schools and colleges and relevant to future careers opportunities. The distribution of this pack, to 7,500 students from 250 schools, will complement and drive a Skills Competitions Day for schools, in February 2017 which will have significant involvement from the Skills Champions network.

“We are thrilled that this grant will bring skills competitions to a new nationwide audience by using and expanding our Skills Champions network, and enable us to build on the success of The Skills Show and our recent Skills Show Experience programme,” says Dr Neil Bentley, Chief Executive of WorldSkills UK. “Research has shown that competition activity drives up standards for all participants, increasing productivity and performance across the board. Our unique combination of experiential careers events and direct contact with employers enables young people to identify apprenticeships and other training opportunities which will help them to progress in their chosen careers. We are confident that the new events, and the toolkit will expand our outreach yet further.”

The Careers and Enterprise Company fund has been created to increase the numbers of encounters young people have with employers while in education, which, according to research, dramatically reduces their chances of becoming NEET and increases future salary levels by an average of 18%. Despite this evidence, currently only 40% of schools offer employer engagement to pupils, with careers and enterprise provision varying dramatically across England. According to the Careers and Enterprise Company’s “Cold Spots” report, those in northern, coastal and rural regions have the least support in this area in England.

WorldSkills UK is one of 33 winning organisations to receive funding from the Careers & Enterprise Company, in a programme of activity which will distribute a total of £9.5million (including £4.5million of matched funding). The programmes are located across England, with 75% of the funding directed to “Cold Spot” areas. The winning programmes were selected following a rigorous process against key criteria defined according to research, that shows young people need encounters, information and a plan in order to succeed2.

Claudia Harris, CEO of The Careers & Enterprise Company, said: “We are delighted to award WorldSkills UK with funding to expand its amazing work. There are a huge number of extraordinary organisations working across the country to connect business to schools and colleges, creating encounters that inspire and inform young people about the future. We are pleased The Careers & Enterprise Company Investment Fund will support a set of these organisations to reach nearly 250,000 further young people in areas of greatest need. We look forward to working with WorldSkills UK and seeing the impact the organisation continues to have on the young people it works with.”

WorldSkills UK champions world-class apprenticeships and technical skills, by engaging young people in skills competitions, delivering experiential careers events, role modelling to challenge stereotypes and using research to support the apprenticeship agenda.

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