A read through Rochdale Borough’s February 2019 labour statistics shows a Rochdale Borough resident is more likely to be unemployed, more likely to be less paid and more likely to have fewer skills than the regional average for the North West of England. And when compared with the national averages, the picture is even worse.

So to get more Rochdalians in work with more pay and more skills, something has to change. Well there is good news, as some of those changes have already started happening….

In December 2017 the UK Government published a new Careers Strategy with supplementary statutory guidance published in October 2018. These key documents aim to raise the quality of careers provision in Britain. But more broadly, their aim is to make Britain fairer, improve social mobility and offer opportunity to everyone.

In particular, they clarify the responsibilities of schools and colleges in delivering their careers guidance services to young people. The guidance is based on eight principles of good practice – the Gatsby Principles of Good Career Guidance:

  1. A stable careers programme
  2. Learning from career and labour market information
  3. Addressing the needs of each pupil
  4. Linking curriculum learning to careers
  5. Encounters with employers and employees
  6. Experiences of workplaces
  7. Encounters with further and higher education
  8. Personal guidance

The principles put emphasis on increasing young people’s knowledge and interaction with the world of work. So for example:

  • Learners must be given access to good quality information about future study options (academic and vocational) and jobs opportunities,
  • Learning must be linked to future careers options,
  • Learners are entitled to multiple opportunities to engage with and learn from employers/employees about the world of work and the skills that are valued in the workplace, for example through visiting speakers or mentoring schemes,
  • Learners should also be introduced to the workplace through work visits, work shadowing and/or work experience.

Regional organisations are directly and indirectly supporting the delivery of the Careers Strategy:

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership – in a report called Educating the North, published in 2018, identified that children in the North of England are falling behind other parts of the UK, leading to a serious skills shortage for employers. It found disadvantaged Northern schoolchildren are falling one GCSE grade on average behind the rest of the UK.

The report made a bold call for Northern businesses and employers to commit to provide experience of the world of work for more than 900,000 young people every year.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) & Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) – launched the Bridge GM programme; an initiative to transform how young people are prepared for and introduced to the world of work.

The programme’s objectives are shown below:

To do this, GM schools are being encouraged to join the Enterprise Adviser Network to help them embed careers into their strategic plans as part of a big culture shift. 164 out of 230 GM schools and colleges have joined so far.  Employers who choose to participate, volunteer Enterprise Advisers to support schools.  The Enterprise Advisers will help schools and colleges to increase the number of encounters between employers and learners. Schools are also required to appoint dedicated Careers Leaders. By the end of 2020 the programme hopes to have supported 1 million encounters!

The Government’s Careers Strategy as well as the programmes outlined above place employer links and engagement at the heart of careers delivery. Rochdale Stronger Together is committed to working collaboratively with local and regional schools, colleges, businesses and other employers to support the delivery of some of these career development opportunities.

Rochdale Stronger Together, through its Learn & Hire Workstream, will promote the real benefits of progressing into Rochdale Borough‘s local employment market.

The goal is for maximum advantage to be gained for Rochdale Borough’s learners, for the Borough’s economy to grow and for community wealth to be unlocked!

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