Stockton's Infinity Bridge

Employers look out ... future workforce ahead! 3,100+ students; 25 schools; 40 businesses ...

24 September 2013

'.....these business men and women are not coming in to school to teach - they are there to show - and to bring the excitement of business into the classroom.' Brian Manning, Esh Group.

This month over 3,000 year 10 and 11 students from 25 schools in 8 local authority areas across the North East and Cumbria have set off on a great academic adventure.

Two programmes facilitated by Esh Group;  Building My Skills which runs in the North East and The Employability Programme which runs in Cumbria, sees employers showcasing employability skills in fun, interactive sessions throughout the entire academic year culminating in realistic job interview opportunities for the best performing students.

Delivered at no cost to the schools or the local authorities taking part, the 40 business organisations involved will deliver over 120 workshops and over 400 realistic job interviews from September this year as part of the two programmes.   The business organisations include:
Barclays Bank PLC
Benfield Group
BIM Academy
Blue Kangaroo
Carlisle Leisure
Cumberland Building Society
Cumbria County Council
Cumbria News
Cumbrian Spaa Foundation
Curtins Consulting Engineers
David Allen Accountants
Day Cummins Architects
Foundation of Light (SAFC)
Gardiner Richardson
Hotel Indigo
Lakes Leisure
Lloyds Bank
Mellor Architects
Muckle LLP
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Northumbria University
Northumbrian Water
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
Six Degrees Recruitment
Swinburne Maddison LLP
Tilly Bailey & Irvine LLP
Turner & Townsend
Westlakes Engineering
Westlakes Recruit

Every programme has been launched in each school this month and the business sessions start in October and run through to April next year.

The sessions cover a wide range of skills which are required by employers in their employees and a particular focus is placed on subject areas sought out by different industry and business sectors.

Every student taking part will compile, under the guidance of their business mentor, a personal file documenting their progress as they each tackle a number of critical ‘checkpoints' throughout the programme.

The schools taking part are:

North East :Building My Skills

  • Hetton School, Hetton le Hole, Sunderland
  • Castle View Enterprise Academy, Sunderland
  • Mortimer Community College, South Shields
  • Northfield School and Sports College, Billingham
  • Monkseaton High School, Whitley Bay
  • King Edward VI School, Morpeth
  • Heaton Manor School, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • St Cuthbert's, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Trinity Catholic College, Middlesbrough
  • Seaham School of Technology, Seaham
  • Sunnydale Community College, Shildon
  • Haughton Academy - The Education Village, Darlington
  • Framwellgate Moor School, Durham
  • Cramlington Learning Village, Cramlington
  • Ormesby School, Ormesby
  • Darlington School for Maths and Science, Darlington,
  • Wheatley Hill School, Durham

Cumbria :The Employability Programme

  • Solway Community Technology College, Allerdale
  • Netherhalll School, Allerdale
  • Trinity School, Carlisle
  • Kirkby Stephen Grammar School, Eden
  • Kirkbie Kendal School, South Lakeland
  • Queen Elizabeth School, Kirkby Lonsdale, South Lakeland
  • Whitehaven School, Copeland
  • Britain's Energy Coast Campus

Quotes from businesses taking part

Esh Employability - this is what they love about it!

The businesses who give their time say.....

Brian Manning, Chief Executive of Esh Group, which is co-ordinating the programme, explained:

'We need to thank all the businesses that are working in partnership as part of both Building My Skills and The Employability Programme.  Everyone one of them is passionate about showing how school work is relevant in their business.  That's the important point - these business men and women are not coming in to school to teach - they are coming there to show - and to bring the excitement of business into the classroom. These schemes are all about supporting schools and helping young people to really understand how their school experience is relevant in the world of work.  This launch involves students in the North East and Cumbria and in January the Yorkshire element of the programme will begin; by the end of this academic year over 6,200 students will have benefitted.'

Lucy Gardiner, Company Director at Gardiner Richardson, said:

'The job of educating young people isn't just down to schools, teachers and parents. Businesses have an important part to play in ensuring the next generation of North East employees has the right attitude and ideas to help them become vital members of the region's workforce. We hope that by being part of the Building My Skills programme we can play a part in inspiring and developing the next generation, so talent is retained here in the region.'

Brian Shiach, Director of Mellor Architects said: 

'We have supported local schools over a number of years by taking students for a week's meaningful work experience, which has been very successful.  We see this scheme as providing further support to young people, which will hopefully give them a different insight into the world of work and perhaps provide them with an advantage in the competitive world of work we all have to operate in.'

Cllr Paul Watson, Chair of ANEC commended the Esh Programme's engagement with schools in a number of local authority areas, which ANEC has helped facilitate.  Cllr Watson said;

'Every council in the North East is concerned about the high level of youth unemployment and is actively working with the private sector to find ways of helping young people into work.  The ‘Building My Skills' Programme is an excellent example of collaboration between businesses and schools to give young people exposure to the world of work and to better equip them with ‘work ready' skills and an opportunity to build confidence and raise aspirations.'

'The Building my Skills programme is a well-planned and attractive programme with employability at its heart. The workshops and resources are engaging and students are enthusiastic about working with industry,' explained Leanne Johnston of Three Rivers Housing Association.

John Davison, Managing Partner at Swinburne Maddison commented:

'Swinburne Maddison recognises the great work which Esh Group is doing in schools and other organisations throughout the North East and we are delighted to be able to offer our support to the Building My Skills programme.  Building My Skills allows the students an invaluable opportunity to gain a practical insight into the operations of real world businesses and we at Swinburne Maddison hope that we can add to this experience.'

John Kipling, Director, Head of Energy at WYG said:

‘WYG is delighted to be providing support to this worthwhile project for the schools in Cumbria, which supports our continual commitment to the area and on-going volunteering work from our staff to local community initiatives.  We hope the students benefit from the programme and come away with an idea of a chosen career path as they are the future of our industry. An added bonus is that it puts us in direct contact with first class students and potential work placement opportunities.'

Kay Eccles, Barclays Area Network Director said:

'We face a major challenge in supporting our young people to make the transition from education into the world of work. This challenge has never been greater for modern western economies like the UK, where the employment landscape is radically different and much more competitive compared to thirty years ago. The opportunities we provide now to our young people in Cumbria and the North East for them to shape and realise their aspirations will have a profound impact on our economy and society.'

'The first step of this journey is helping them to make the transition from school to the workplace, which LifeSkills has been specifically created to address. It will provide free resources to schools and has also been designed to reach those not in education or training via sessions held in Barclays branches or access to the modules online. We, along with other businesses across the UK, aim to provide opportunities to learn from an employer through 50,000 work experience roles. We believe this approach, delivered through partnership, will achieve the lasting change our society requires.'

'We accepted the invitation to take part in the Esh Employability Programme in 2012 and we are delighted to be invited again to help deliver guest workshops in three local schools in 2013/14.  Supporting our young people and helping to improve their opportunities in the job market is very close to our hearts having been involved with other youth projects and apprenticeship schemes.  The team at David Allen is looking forward to meeting the students in this academic year and we'd to thank Esh Group for its continued support in our community.' Jane Clingan, Business Manager, David Allen

Mark Whitehall, Associate Director of Turner & Townsend said;

'We at Turner & Townsend are delighted to be involved in the Building My Skills programme which brings actual, real life and practical advice to help the students develop their employability.  It's an incredibly rewarding programme and the on-going legacy within the community will, we believe, see the students move beyond school and develop successful careers.'

Kelly Angus, head of human resources services and development at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said:

'We are delighted to be involved in this innovative project and to give students in Northumberland and North Tyneside a valuable insight into working in the NHS.'

'As one of the North East's largest employers with over 9,000 staff working across Northumberland and North Tyneside, we are passionate about engaging with all members of the community including our workforce of the future.'

'Building My Skills is a fantastic programme. Ryder are especially excited by the opportunity to support local schools develop the employability of a new wave of north east talent. We aim to raise awareness of the subtle similarities between developing important skills for any career path with those existing in the architectural profession,' said Paul Milner, Ryder Architecture.

The schools taking part .....

Simon Campbell, Year 10 Coordinator, Heaton Manor School said:

'We are all very excited to participate in this great opportunity to give our students the skills they need so that they can be creators, not seekers, in the job market of the future.'

Michelle Webster, Head of House of Ormesby School said: 

'This is the second year that Ormesby School are working with Esh Group and it is something we are very excited about. We have found this programme enables our students engage well with learning employability skills and developing themselves further. This is a programme that has worked well in its first year and we envisage that this programme will grow further with every coming year.'

Mr Gaskell, Vocational Coordinator of Queen Elizabeth School said:

'We are looking forward to people from the business world coming in to school to share their experiences with young people.'

Calvin Kipling, Headteacher of Darlington School of Mathematics and Science said:

'It is important that schools are able to engage with businesses, to provide pupils with experiences that make their education as real and relevant as possible.  Pupils have been really engaged in the programme so far and it has added to the wide range of excellent opportunities on offer for pupils at DSMS.' 

Trinity Catholic College and Sixth Form:

'The organisation of the programme has made it easy to implement to a full year group and the quality of the resources and initial talk has ensured all students have engaged in the project with great enthusiasm.' Richard Spence, Trinity Catholic College and Sixth Form

'A really good talk, engaged the pupils right from the start, setting high expectations, inspiring.' Laura Talbott Science Teacher and Year 10 Form Teacher, Trinity Catholic College and Sixth Form.

Helen Machin, Director of Social Sciences, Framwellgate School Durham said:

'Our students realise that it is not just excellent academic performance that secures a place in the employment sector; they want to be given the opportunities to develop their transferable, employability skills and ESH's employability programme provides them with the perfect opportunity to do this. Students respond well to people from the ‘real world' speaking to them about what employers are looking for and as a school we are grateful to be a part of this programme; it helps us play our part in ensuring that our young people are ready for the world of work.'

'We were one of the first schools involved in the Building My Skills Programme. I am delighted that the programme has been extended by Esh Group. It is an unique opportunity for my students to understand, direct from employers, what they need from young people in preparation for the world of work, and to talk directly with employers through this demanding ‘real world' experience.' Mr P. Keay, Headteacher of Hetton School, Sunderland.

'This represents an amazing opportunity for our students to be equipped with a real world skillset, approved and delivered by real businesses that will be unique to our students and benefit them both now and in the future.' Gary Turnbull, Monkseaton High School.