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Black Country announced as ‘Careers Hub’  to help transform careers education

The Black Country is to become one of 20 Careers Hubs around England to help transform careers education for young people.

The national launch took place at a special event at Holly Hall Academy today, Thursday 12 July.

The Black Country Careers Hubs will be made up of 36 schools and colleges, including 2 special educational needs providers, working together with Enterprise Advisor Networks, universities, training providers, employers and career professionals to improve careers education.

The launch at Holly Hall Academy presented careers education in action with approx. 40 year 10 students working with employers and Enterprise Advisers as part of a build your own robot challenge.

This skills challenge is part of the Passport to Employment programme previously funded by The Careers & Enterprise Company Investment Fund and delivered by the Black Country Education Business Partnership.

The launch was attended by Claudia Harris CEO of The Careers & Enterprise Company, Stewart Towe, Chair of the Black Country LEP and Jo Higgins, CEO of Dudley MAT.

Careers Hubs are a central part of the Government’s Careers Strategy, published in December. The strategy aims to improve careers education and help prepare young people for the world of work.

The Government asked The Careers & Enterprise Company to scale up a model successfully piloted in the North East by establishing 20 Careers Hubs across the country, allocating £5 million over a two-year period to support the Hubs.

The Black Country Hub will have access to support and funding to help them meet the eight Gatsby Benchmarks of excellent careers education. This includes:

  • A ‘Hub Lead’ to help coordinate activity and build networks
  • Access to bursaries for individual schools and colleges to train ‘careers leaders’
  • Central Hub Fund equivalent to around £1k per school or college
  • Access to funding for schools to support employer encounters

Stewart Towe, Chair of the Black Country LEP, said:

We are delighted to become one of just 20 Careers Hubs across England and the only one in the West Midlands. Through the Black Country Careers Hub we will build on the work we have delivered to-date with schools, colleges and business to ensure a deeper engagement for both young people and employers. This investment will ensure that Black Country continues to lead the way in providing careers education that fits the needs of the economy.”

Claudia Harris, Chief Executive of The Careers & Enterprise Company, said:

We're excited by the potential impact of the Hubs. If employers, schools and colleges can better prepare young people for the world of work, we're not just benefiting the future economy, but improving prospects for thousands of young people.”

Andy Street, West Midlands Mayor said:

One of the gaps in the skills provision in the West Midlands that has been most obvious is around careers education and ensuring we can match the enthusiasm and talent with the industries and jobs our growing economy is offering. That’s why I am particularly pleased the Black Country has been successful with this bid. It is clear schools, colleges and employers are already working well together and the creation of the Black Country Careers Hubs will mean higher-quality support for youngsters and better access for businesses.”

More information on then Black Country Careers Hub can be found at


For further information contact Helen Annetts, PR on behalf of the Black Country LEP on 07779026720, email:

Notes to editors: A competitive and open bidding process was launched national in April, and the Hubs will launch in September. A total of 30 out of 38 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas applied to become Careers Hubs. The Careers & Enterprise Company evaluated bids according to the level of need in an area, the wider benefit of the proposals to the area and the strength of leadership. All bids were moderated by independent assessors.

Photo credits: Claudia Harris (CEO of CEC), Phil Caldicott (Enterprise Advisor), Jo Higgins (CEO of Dudley MAT), Colin Parker (Black Country Skills Factory Director), Stewart Towe (Chair, Black Country LEP Board), and pupils from Holly Hall Academy

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