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Black Country Enterprise Adviser calls for more volunteers from business to get involved and connect young people with the world of work

David Woakes, one of the Black Country LEP’s first Enterprise Advisers is calling for senior level business volunteers to get involved in connecting young people and the world of work as part of the national Careers & Enterprise Company Enterprise Adviser programme.

Managed by the Black Country Skills Factory, this third wave of recruitment for the Enterprise Adviser programme seeks high calibre volunteers from business, employed or self-employed, to fulfil the role of Enterprise Adviser across the Black Country.

Enterprise Advisers will encourage schools to explore a wide range of employer interactions as part of a wider school strategy of careers, enterprise and employer engagement and help address the lack of knowledge and limited engagement with the world of work faced by many young people.

Supported by Enterprise Coordinator, Deniece Gabriel, the Enterprise Adviser will work closely with the senior leadership team of a specific school or college to:

• Support the development of a whole school strategy for careers, enterprise and employer engagement
• Provide access to their local business networks
• Help schools and colleges to focus efforts on programmes and activities that are most effective in motivating young people, supporting independent choice, and supporting positive outcomes for young people.

Volunteer Enterprise Advisers can be from any sector and will receive information and guidance via Deniece Gabriel. The Black Country LEP is looking for individuals who are:

• Senior level experts in their own sector and able to develop an understanding of the wider local labour market and promote its needs.
• Prepared to commit to a school for at least one academic year with a time commitment of up to one day (or part day) per month.
• Willing and able to act as a ‘broker’ rather than deliver activities directly to schools.

Recruited through the first wave, David Woakes Group Business Development Manager at Jonathan Lee Recruitment Ltd, has been working with Sandwell Academy for a term encouraging staff and pupils to consider the different routes into engineering and manufacturing and the many opportunities available in careers in this sector.

David Woakes, Enterprise Adviser said: "I hope that my positive approach and enthusiasm will influence at all levels. Having a wide breadth of knowledge and exposure across industry, plus access to many different and interesting organisations through my business activities is something that I can hopefully communicate to young people. 

"I see the role as an ideal opportunity to help educate students and schools that engineering and manufacturing are now not just "dirty, low paid jobs” but that in the UK we have many companies at the cutting edge of technology development which will provide young people with real careers and significant opportunity. I hope many more senior figures from the world of business volunteer their time and get involved.”

Deniece Gabriel, Black Country Enterprise Co-ordinator said: "Becoming an Enterprise Adviser is a unique opportunity to support a school or college in improving opportunities for young people, and it is also a chance to join a network of like-minded peers. The role is an opportunity for people to draw on their own business expertise to support schools in developing their careers and enterprise strategies.” 

Sandra Caddick, Director of Careers, Guidance and Industrial Links said: "David Woakes, the new Enterprise Adviser first undertook a needs audit, identified development points including looking at the quality of business engagement Sandwell Academy currently undertakes in the Black Country and with larger national organisations. We are very optimistic about the positive contribution which the Enterprise Advisor will make and the industry knowledge which David can share to enrich the careers education of Sandwell Academy students.”

Simon Topper, Head Teacher Sandwell Academy added: "This is a great initiative which we welcome with open arms. In partnership, we intend to broaden the strong work that already exists at Sandwell Academy in linking the business and education worlds.”

The Black Country LEP is currently receiving expressions of interest for the role of Enterprise Advisers. Further information can be downloaded from The deadline for expressions of interest is 10 June 2016. Applications should be sent to Deniece Gabriel, Enterprise Co-ordinator via highlighting previous experience in this area. All volunteer Enterprise Advisers will need to be DBS checked.

The Black Country LEP aims to link 45 Black Country schools with an Enterprise Adviser working in partnership with Careers Enterprise Advice Information Guidance (CEAIG) providers across the Black Country.

The Careers & Enterprise Company has invested £100k; with equivalent match funding offered through the LEP and affiliated partners, to deliver the project from September 2015 through to September 2016.

Picture caption: (L-R) Simon Topper (Sandwell Academy), Sandra Caddick (Sandwell Academy), Deniece Gabriel (Enterprise Co-ordinator) and David Woakes (Enterprise Adviser).

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