Members of the city’s business community and local schools turned out in force at Derby Moor School for the official launch of Enterprise for Education (e4e), an exciting public private sector partnership, which aims to link employers with schools and students in a bid to create a better understanding of career opportunities, raise young people’s aspirations and improve employability skills.
The initiative was originally founded by Derby City Council in November 2014. A project team was established, with a board of directors made up of representatives from the city’s schools and business community, including major employers such as Rolls-Royce and local SMEs.
Over the past nine months, a programme of mock interviews and CV writing involving 50 city employers has been delivered to schools across the city. The programme has been met with widespread support from both the schools and the pupils themselves, who have now identified the need for a wider range of support.
This has resulted in the decision to relaunch the organisation as Enterprise for Education (e4e) and expand the range of employability and careers activities on offer, to include more CV workshops and mock interviews, along with mentoring, industry visits, careers workshops and talks.
As a result, e4e now needs to recruit around 250 new volunteer business mentors, who share the organisation’s vision and can offer a minimum of half a day a year of their time to help improve the opportunities and skills of the city’s young people and better prepare them for the world of work.
The launch event at Derby Moor School, kicked-off with a welcome from Mike Copestake, senior partner at leading law firm Freeths and chairman of e4e.
This was followed by a speech from Councillor Sarah Russell, cabinet member for Education and Skills and a Q & A with e4e board members Sean Price, managing director of iBox-Security and Wendy Whelan, head teacher at Derby Moor School.
Commenting on the launch of the expanded programme of activities, Mike Copestake said: “E4E’s principal aim is to raise the aspirations and hopefully the attainment of the city’s young people and enable them to go on and achieve something positive in their careers. By showing youngsters that anything is realistically achievable and giving them a bit of guidance, their aspirations and confidence can grow enormously in a short space of time.
“We also need to help young people develop their soft skills earlier in life. All too often we speak to youngsters who simply don’t know how to speak, act or behave in a grown-up world and we need to change that.
“We as employers can accept that school-leavers won’t have all of the right qualifications and levels of experience, but we want to be able to see something there that encourages us to take a punt in taking them on – that’s where soft skills are so important.”
Stella Mosley, head of careers at daVinci Community School, said: “I’ve seen the benefit that the mock interviews have throughout all the years. We try and give each student an interview in Year 10 and Year 11. You can really see the difference a year makes. The children come out the second time and say they’ve really been able to work on the points from the first interview.
“Last year we did the pilot project for the CV workshop. It was really beneficial for students to have their CV looked at by a business person to see whether it includes all the relevant information.
“It’s also a massive boost of confidence and a fantastic opportunity for students to really gain an insight into the world of work and what skills are needed,” added Stella.
e4e’s vision is to build a passionate movement that mobilises the local workforce to support pupils and schools in order to help our young people prepare for the world of work.