Tag Archives: young people

Preparing for a modern economy

Preparing for a modern economy with Knowledge-Based Industries and a well qualified and highly specialised workforce at its heart, requires us to grown our own talent pool as well as attracting in-bound talent.

Around 50,000 people commute within the Greater Exeter Travel to Work Area every week day. People that live in East Devon may work in Exeter or Teignbridge and people that work in Mid Devon perhaps live in East Devon (see the diagram below). Children and young people travel considerable distances to learn too. The catchment area of some schools and colleges extends right across local council and sometimes county boundaries. Our ‘raw material’ for this talent pool needs to be nurtured from a young age regardless of the student’s or the school’s location, as inevitably we will all be working together, in an effort to make this region a great place to live and work.

Net flow for commuters through EHOD

Looking at the performance of schools and students is a sometimes a  little like comparing ‘apples and pears’; up until 16 years ‘student residency’ is all important and at 18 years’ school location’ becomes the basis of the ranking.  On the whole:

  • Primary school children, in most parts of the region,  perform better than the national average.
  • Secondary school students performance at GCSE level (around 16 years) is more varied with GCSE results revealing a range of nearly 10% between the top performing and least well performing schools per council area.
  • Young people, are increasingly more mobile around about the age of 18, and tend to do well academically.

BUT then disappointingly the proportion progressing to Higher Education (HE) is notably lower than would be expected. Nationally, a decline of 4% in university applications has been recently reported. Closer examination reveals that this reduction is mainly in ‘mature’ students and in Nursing/Medicine/ Health related degrees where student tuition fees are no longer exempted. However, our small (124 students), local (South West), recent (June 2017) research exercise at a Big Bang SW indicates that 13% fewer school students intend to apply to university than the students surveyed in 2016 (see graph below). This is concerning as the proportion of young people progressing to Higher Education in EHOD is already notably lower than the national average.

Destinations comparison 2016 2017 graph

Student debt (Tuition fee loans of up to £9250/annum plus maintenance loans are charged at 6.1% interest from this autumn) has been hitting the headlines and combined with economic uncertainty may have influenced a growing reticence amongst potential students to invest in themselves through HE. Surprisingly, and disappointingly, it appears that this reduction in HE applications may not result in a corresponding increase in students intending to undertake an apprenticeship, despite prominent Government campaigns and opportunities locally. Perhaps the messaging about university fees has been stronger than that of pro-Apprenticeships?

Accepting the research exercise was small and two years is not a trend, it is nevertheless interesting. Perhaps we are left with more questions than answers? At the very least this research indicates that more young people are certain about what they want to do. It may be that more young people want to be entrepreneurs, more want to get  jobs (which does not and should not rule out learning), and that we all need to examine why local young people are less likely to apply to University and what can be done to increase the uptake of apprenticeships at every level. Working together is more likely to be the most successful approach. Whatever the route young people take, we want them to achieve their potential, to continue to learn and to contribute to a more modern economy and a happy community.

Talent Abounds at Big Bang SW

Team Juno with The Lord Mayor of Exeter
Team Juvo win ‘Best CREST Award’ presented by The Lord Mayor of Exeter

Talent abounds at Big Bang SW which is the South West’s schools largest celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). Held at the University of Exeter on June 21st and organised by Education Business Partnership SW its impossible not to be caught up in an upward spiral of inspiration and STEM possibilities.

Almost 2000 students from across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Swindon and over 60 local, national and international organisations and sponsors, including Beckton Dickinson, Babcock International and Spirent arrived to showcase their work and inspire one another. An amazing ‘Mega Class’ in the form of an interactive science session for 500 students, led by the National Space Academy, took place in the Great Hall.

The prestigious Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Competition was one of many awards to be decided at this event.  Camborne Science and International Academy (CSIA) were delighted that students attending Nexus, their Gifted STEM programme, won two awards.  The Best Crest Award which was sponsored by Exeter City Council and awarded by The Lord Mayor of Exeter, herself a Maths & Physics graduate was won by team ‘Juvo’ (Latin for help, assist, aid) . Their project resulted from their desire to solve a problem: “We are Year 7s and we have first-hand experience of being new arrivals in a huge secondary school and needing some help finding our way around…” (Gabriel Almeida, Max Anthony and James Belshaw). Team Juvo came up with the concept of how schools could use technology to communicate better with students, staff and visitors with interactive screens positioned around the site. They thought through how essential it is to engage with students, staff and visitors by tailoring profiles containing a range of Apps to suit the three user groups. The interactive screens offered site maps, newsletters and school information accessible to all; to individual timetables, co-curricular activity information, school bulletin, CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) reporting, Google drive and more, accessible to students; with other specific Apps aimed at teachers. “It’s like a digital friend who is always there to help you …” (Gabriel, Max and James).

As part of the Nexus Co-Curricular Programme, students will be learning how to develop Apps and look forward to Juvo developing their idea further. Mira Oates, Nexus Co-Curricular and Primary Coordinator was  understandably proud and excited by both the success of both teams. “Huge congratulations to all the students who took part and I am incredibly proud of them. I was quietly confident our students would win something because the quality of their ideas and their passion. The Juvo team have an excellent concept which I can genuinely see it successfully used in schools and other organisations”. (Mira Oates)

A full list of awards and the talented teams can be found here

 

Spend to Save – why BEEP makes sense

Low cost but timely and profound interventions can prove to be worth ‘more than their weight in gold’. BEEP (Business Empowering Employment Programme) and REEP (Rugby Empowering Employment Programme) its forerunner can convert an initial investment of £550 to a potential saving of over £1 million in one generation.

Although, we may prefer to believe in the power of BEEP because it replaces despair with hope, confidence and potential, and alleviates inequality, we know that being able to make the economic case for ‘spending to save’ will win more support for BEEP. For this reason, and with help from Joe Walsh at Exeter City Council, we have developed a spreadsheet to calculate the cost of a variety of scenarios which illustrate ‘Spend to Save’. In order to do this we have made assumptions which are founded on information from reliable sources. 

Young people who had struggled to find their way on to the training or work ladder, have through BEEP, together with support from their volunteer mentors, secured training and moved on to work which will benefit themselves, their communities and the local economy.  The future looks positive for our apprentice bricklayer, our apprentice classroom assistant and our IT technician. But what if £550 hadn’t been spent and they had not been helped through the BEEP programme and by the volunteer mentors?

Spend to save table
Extracted data from ‘Spend to Save’ spread sheet showing summary data only

Joe says “By providing these individuals [BEEP mentees] with routes to employment the financial dependency on the state is considerably reduced and the money they earn will often be spent in the local economy on day to day goods and services.”

To find out more about BEEP how you can contribute and make ‘Spend to Save’ a reality please visit the BEEP website

New ‘Carousel’ Digital Marketing apprenticeship scheme with top Devon employers

Gemma - PR
Gemma – Carousel Apprentice with Cosmic, The Deer Park Hotel & River Cottage

 

Vicky Moss- Crump from Cosmic writes:-

Cosmic are advocates when it comes to apprenticeships. We took on our very first apprentice, Ben, in 1998 and he is still a valued member of the team. Since that time, apprenticeships have changed and Cosmic have evolved their offering to suit the needs of those looking for this type of work. In 2013, Cosmic secured funding to run their very own digital apprenticeship programme, which saw us employ six young people and gave us the opportunity to provide them with a wealth of digital knowledge. The apprenticeship enabled these young people to work on a variety of areas within our business. This includes website design and development, technical support, digital marketing and training; as well as the opportunity to gain placements with a number of our partners, including Mole Valley Farmers, Yarlington Housing and Eloquent Technologies.

Since then, we have been working with the Exeter and Heart of Devon Employment and Skills Board to look at different ways in which we can offer apprenticeships. We are all aware that there is currently a skills shortage within the digital sector. Many organisations recognise the need for digital within their businesses, but do not have the expertise to support these roles or do not need these roles on a full-time basis. With this in mind, Cosmic have designed an apprenticeship model which allows other organisations to benefit from Cosmic’s digital skills and offers a more flexible approach. We have called it the ‘Carousel Apprenticeship’.

In 2016, Cosmic held talks with several members of the Exeter and Heart of Devon Employment and Skills Board around this approach and it was agreed to move forwards with two other employers: The Deer Park Hotel and River Cottage.

So how does it work? Cosmic have employed a digital marketing apprentice; Gemma Spencer, who began the new programme in February 2017. Gemma attends college for 1 day a week and works at Cosmic for 1 day a week. During that time, she focusses on learning a range of digital marketing skills. She then works 1 day at the Deer Park Hotel and 2 days at River Cottage, allowing her to apply her learning to different organisations. The businesses benefit from a skilled digital apprentice and Gemma benefits from a wide range of learning through a number of organisations.

Already, Gemma is embracing the new way of working and has grasped the opportunity with both hands. She says, “I am looking forward to this new type of apprenticeship. Being able to work with different companies such as Cosmic, The Deer Park and River Cottage is a fantastic opportunity, giving me the chance to build strong relationships and gain as much experience as possible. One of the things I am looking forward to the most is being able to experience different working platforms, and interacting with so many different people. This will teach me to keep an open mind and have multiple perspectives for each company and their brand. Every day in the week will be something new with different surroundings and I’m more than excited for the opportunity”.

Joint CEO Julie Hawker said, “Cosmic has for many years made a major commitment to its own apprenticeship programme, and has offered new opportunities and employment to local young people. This new initiative to share our passion and commitment, as well as employment of apprentices with other local employers, is a fantastic development and one which we look forward to replicating many times in the years ahead.”

Managing Director of the Deer Park, Mark Godfrey advised “Deer Park are committed to the apprenticeship scheme and are proud of what we have achieved with our partners; River Cottage, Bicton College and Exeter College. We have had 6 apprentices working with us in the last 4 years and it’s great to see them all develop and move up the employment ladder with good qualifications.

We have been lucky enough to have apprentices from Bicton in our garden department growing produce for our River Cottage apprentices to cook for our 2 Rosette restaurant served by our Front of House apprentice from Exeter College. Now that’s a great example of plot to plate and growing your own!

And now working with Cosmic and River Cottage we have the great opportunity to have a Digital Marketing Apprentice working with us one day a week under a newly developed Carousel scheme, a fantastic opportunity for Gemma….”

All partners are delighted to be running this new programme and cannot wait to report on the programme at the end of 18th month scheme. Cosmic is extremely proud of the apprenticeships they have offered over the last 19 years. They will continue to look for new innovative ways in which to reduce the skills gap and enable other organisations to embrace technology through apprenticeships.

Full STEAMM Ahead

Grand Challenges - University of Exeter - June 2016
Grand Challenges – Tackling 21st Century Interdisciplinary Dilemmas Together at the University of Exeter – June 2016

Recently we have been discussing the complex and volatile world in which we live and work, and the increasing need for more interdisciplinary teams.

Locally, Innovation Exeter is focused on cultivating a City-region which is a world-leader in environmental data analytics.  This is an interdisciplinary area and results will be achieved by exploiting the presence of the Met Office, the University of Exeter, the Science Park, the Maths School and other critical assets. STEM∗ STEMM° STEAMM℘ are top topics. Naomi Climer, the president of the Institute of Engineers, values the mix of creative and technical skills in individuals. However, the skills and personal qualities which underpin and enable interdisciplinary working in these highly technical areas are vital across all sectors and at all levels. If we are to tackle the productivity challenge and be more fulfilled individuals we need to unleash confidence, communicate effectively, collaborate meaningfully and re-discover curiosity.

Our meeting of Employers, Training Providers, Facilitators and Funders on Friday 25 November explored the theme Full STEAMM Ahead! Interdisciplinary STEAMM teams with strong collaborative abilities are the way ahead. We enjoyed presentations from and discussions with:

Kerry Burnham Exeter Maths School Creative and interdisciplinary project work with the University, Exeter College and employers – the benefits of being stuck!
Louise Cole & Kevin Feaviour Imagine If – Assets for Success Soft skills in schools, colleges, universities communities and the modern workplace

louise-and-kevin-employment-skills-board-presentation-final

Rosie Bates Education Business Partnership STEAMM & the EBP – STEM Ambassadors, Big Bang etc

ehod-esb-ebpsw-full-steamm-ahead

Anka Djordjevic Grand Challenges – University of Exeter Grand Challenges interdisciplinary enquiry –led learning with leading academics and external specialists

full-steamm-ahead-grand-challenges-presentation-light-version

Jo McCreedie Careers & Employability – University of Exeter Internships & employability experiences

(Presentation to be added when technical glitches solved!)

Our main discussion points identified our need to:

  • Transcend silo mentality and cross boundaries
  • Ensure students experience breadth and develop interdisciplinary skills as study subject areas become more specific
  • Think beyond the immediate demand for STEM and not to fixate on ‘the now’
  • Focus on ‘Character, values and virtues’

We will need an interdisciplinary, creative, collaborative, innovative group to make this happen.

This was an interesting and informative start to what should be a Grand Challenge for Exeter and beyond.

Thanks to the Met Office who generously hosted this meeting.


∗STEM – Science Technology Engineering Maths
° STEMM – Science Technology Engineering Maths Medicine
℘ STEAMM – Science Technology Engineering Arts Maths Medicine

World-class Work Experience

Cosmic Graduation Friday 22 July 2016
L to R: Kate (Cosmic), Clare (Industrial Cadets), Bethany (Honiton Community College) and Josh Elliot-Smith (Uffculme School)

 

World-class Work Experience Graduations!

Cosmic are the first of our employers to host young people on ‘World-class Work Experience’ accredited placements through Industrial Cadets as part of our pilot study. Both Bethany and Josh were awarded their Silver Level certificates which detail the programme they undertook, assure the quality of the experience against national standards and add to their sense of achievement. Cosmic believe in investing in young people and developing talent. They already run very successful and sought after work experience placements but these are the first as part of this pilot study. Thank you!

Josh Elliot-Smith from Uffculme School said:

Doing work experience at Cosmic has been a really interesting yet a challenging week for me. I’ve found throughout that I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone, and have come out the other side with new ideas and skills that I never would’ve thought I would get out of this week , and I’m sure will benefit me in the future. I would definitely recommend doing your work experience at Cosmic if you’re interested in any area of IT2.

 Bethany Jacobs from Honiton Community College said:

My work experience at Cosmic has been so enjoyable. I have achieved so many new and different skills meanwhile improving in my weaker areas. Everyone has been so nice, welcoming and helpful throughout this week. I really enjoyed this week and this has given me an insight to my future. I recommend Cosmic to students wanting to develop their skills in business and IT for their work experience.

The experience of quality Work Experience is invaluable. We know that the more real-life experiences of the world-of-work young people have the less likely they are to have difficulty entering the work-place. Work Experience brings benefits to the young people, the host employers and us all in the longer -term. This pilot will consider the value of the Industrial Cadets nationally recognised accreditation to the young people and the employers.

Tapping into ‘Untapped Talent’

160624-project-search Torbay graduates June 2016
Photo: Torbay & South Devon Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Website – Project SEARCH graduate interns June 2016

Inspiration – Business Benefits and Positive Teams!

Ros Banfield, Equality & Employability Support Officer from  Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust (top left in photograph) inspired all the participants of our ‘Tap into Top Talent’ Employer Breakfast on 5th July at the lovely Hannahs, Seale Hayne. Eight young people with learning disabilities from the local area have just graduated from the ground-breaking Project SEARCH internship scheme based at Torbay Hospital. Project SEARCH aims to remove the significant barriers faced by people with learning disabilities looking for employment and has had success all over the world. The business benefits a real desire to work, enjoyment of routine tasks, low absenteeism and especially for those living with autism close attention to detail and good levels of concentration. The positive impact of Project SEARCH has spread to the teams in which the interns work where mentoring, coaching and team identity improve and people ‘just seem sunnier’. This is the fourth year it has been delivered in Torbay by South Devon College, local social enterprise Pluss and Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.

Practical Support and funding for individuals and businesses

Carolyn Horton and Jason Creed from the Department of Work and Pensions encouraged participants to consider the ‘Access to Work’ grant (up to £40,800 per year) to help with practical support to enable those with a disability to start or stay in work. The amount of the grant depends on need and eligibility but it can be used for taxi fares to work, adaptation or purchase of equipment, disability awareness training for colleagues or a workplace coach.

Marise Mackie from Pluss spoke enthusiastically about ‘Work Choice’ which is a government national programme delivered in this area by Pluss an organisation where people of all abilities are inspired and helped to achieve a career. Work Choice is for young people with disabilities between the ages of 18-24 and it can provide between £1137.50 and £2,275 per person to employers depending upon eligibility.

Thinking about Equality & Employment Law

Bethan Jones, from Michelmores provides HR support and advice on the full range of employment law issues, including unfair dismissal, redundancy, disciplinary and grievance procedures and HR policies and contracts. She was kind enough to talk about the key points to think about when employing individuals with Learning  Disabilities and Difficulties and she helped to alleviate some of the concerns participants may have had.

A place where disability is incidental

Debbie Slurman from Hannahs joined us to give us a potted history of Dame Hannah Rogers Charity which was founded in 1767 in Plymouth. Evolving through time the aim has been simple: to help enrich and empower the lives of children and adults in need. Debbie was inspirational. Although she confessed to not being practiced at the art of public speaking she had all participants wanting to know more and soak up her energy.

It makes so much sense …

The Employment and Skills Board believes in a ‘local world-class workforce where every individual matters’.  Apart from being the right thing to do, enabling people with Learning Disabilities and Difficulties or those living with Autism to work makes so much sense when we have almost full employment and individuals who really want to work and contribute.  Marise, Carolyn and Jason endorsed everything Ros said about the benefits to the workplace, the positive responses from the wider community and jobs well done.

We are grateful to Devon County Council for funding this event and we look forward to more ‘Untapped Talent’ events and positive outcomes in other locations!


Apprenticeships for people with learning disabilities

A taskforce on access to apprenticeships for people with learning disabilities, led by Paul Maynard MP has just published their recommendations all of which have been accepted.You can find the short report and response, ‘Apprenticeships: improving access for people with learning disabilities’ here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apprenticeships-improving-access-for-people-with-learning-disabilities