The Bucks Skills Hub, based at Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership, aims to promote and optimise links between employers and educators, in order to enable young people to become more work ready through greater employer involvement and to ensure they gain the right skills for the local growth sectors.
One in three Buckinghamshire employers have stated that 17-18 year olds recruited to first time jobs from school are “poorly” or “very poorly” prepared for work. (Source: UKCES ESS 2013)
The positive benefits of involving employers with educators are widely known in terms of commercial input, connecting education to the world of work and the development of the ‘soft’ work skills in order to help students be more prepared for work.
An online hub, www.OppsinBucks.org, connects employers and educators in the same way that other sites connect buyers and sellers, or service providers and service users. Employers are able to register their willingness to get involved and state what they have to offer in terms of resources, visits, mentoring etc, and educators can either use this information or post specific requests for support.
In addition to brokering connections and supporting employers, there is also a ‘bank’ of employer led/shaped/created resources for schools to draw down on as required, which meet key skills needs (e.g. STEM) and support curriculum vital areas such as English and Maths.
We have also launched a new website called Wannabebucks, which aims to connect local businesses and young people in work experience and apprenticeship opportunities, as well as full and part-time employment: www.wannabebucks.org.
Be inspired by watching the Silverson Engineering Apprentices video.
Achievements and progress to date
BTVLEP invested £220,000 of its Growing Places Fund into the skills agenda in May 2015. That focus and resource leveraged further funding from the Careers and Enterprise Company matched by Bucks County Council resulting in an overall total of three times the original investment to £757,000 by August 2019.
Skills development is central to creating local conditions for sustained innovation, excellence and growth, and through our shared cohesive skills agenda, we are connecting educators and employers. BTVLEP’s Skills Hub and the Enterprise Adviser Network (part of the Careers and Enterprise Company’s national network) supported 70,000 employer-student encounters in Bucks in 2017/18
Home to one of 20 pilot Careers Hubs in England as part of the established Careers and Enterprise Company programme, we are connecting schools and businesses with ‘offers’ and ‘asks’ via www.oppsinbucks.org and organising skills competitions in schools with employers including Bosch, East-West Rail and the National Film & Television School, and work place visits to British Standards Institution and Emerson.
The annual Bucks Skills Show is the county’s largest interactive and experiential skills festival: 3,000+ people attended across the two day event in October 2018, with 100+ high profile exhibitors linked to BTVLEP growth sectors and guest speakers included David Lidington MP, Google, Ministry of Sound, ITV News, Civil Service and Sir Anthony Seldon.
BTVLEP is developing a growth focussed Local Industrial Strategy to build on key industrial assets in Bucks, such as Pinewood, Silverstone and Westcott. As part of this, the skills strategy is evolving around The Inspiration Revolution: inspiring young people to pursue technical and professional careers as part of the new technical education and training system (T-Levels, apprenticeships), which is seen as key to meeting the skills and workforce requirements of businesses associated with the priority sectors and raising productivity across BTVLEP as well as inspiring employers and young people through a new technically-led system.
Labour Market Intelligence update for Buckinghamshire
It is key that we continue to improve the availability of market intelligence about the local labour market to provide high quality information and advice to young people making choices about their careers, and prepare them and develop their skills to meet employment demands. We hope you find this report useful click here.