The Greater Lincolnshire LEP is creating a network of high-calibre volunteers from local businesses which enables senior leadership teams across secondary schools and colleges to benefit. Their involvement brings alive the world of work for students and strengthens the school or college's careers, enterprise and employer engagement strategy. This scheme is delivered with support from the national Career and Enterprise Company, Lincolnshire County Council and district councils.
Many of our schools and colleges are seeing great results from working with their Enterprise Adviser and two of them join us here to share their experiences. If you are inspired by these experiences, please visit our website to find out more and how to get involved here.
Amanda Bouttell has been leading the employment and skills agendas at West Lindsey District Council for six years. She is an experienced business adviser and workforce development practitioner and has undertaken senior roles in organisations such as Business Link, East Midlands Business, Lincoln College and Nottingham Business Ventures.
Throughout her career Amanda has provided business advice to schools across the county and in June 2019 she was invited by the Greater Lincolnshire LEP to become an Enterprise Adviser to the Gainsborough Academy and to partner with Steve Gelder from Gelder Construction. Amanda was already working with the school so this felt like a natural progression. Through the hard work and dedication of the enterprise co-ordinator six out of seven schools in West Lindsey now have an enterprise adviser.
“Working with the Gainsborough Academy has been really rewarding", says Amanda. "The school had experienced a number of changes including a new sponsor, headteacher, deputy head and careers lead so they were very keen to work with the enterprise co-ordinator and advisers to help strengthen the careers offer to students and to make vital links and connections to local businesses.
“Prior to Covid-19 lots of plans were under way and despite the challenges of the last year, the team has still managed to support the school.”
Jo Phillips, Deputy Head and Careers Lead, has been overwhelmed by the activities which their collaboration has organised and delivered throughout the last year. This includes a virtual hello session with all Year 11s in Sept 2020 ,giving students an insight into post-16 options for further education; careers lessons during student enrichment periods with virtual support from an external careers adviser; Dreams & Goals where FE and HE providers delivered thought-provoking insight sessions to years 7 to 11 co-ordinated by LincHigher; and access to STEM ambassadors with links being made with the Air Defence College.
Jo reflected: “The implementation of a careers strategy is complex and time consuming. It’s imperative that schools start to evolve their partnership and careers team at the outset. It’s really important to have enterprise advisers with good contacts and connections within the local business and business support community. Much of the Compass careers model relies on the success of these links.”
Charlotte Watson is a marketing professional with over eight years’ experience, spanning public, private, not-for-profit and educational organisations both in the UK and Australia.
“While my experience and expertise sit within the marketing and communications arena, I have always been passionate about helping people, and I have mentored recent marketing graduates as well as hosting young people for work experience in previous roles,” she says.
Now working at the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, Charlotte can excel in her passion for connecting with people from all walks of life and with businesses from different sectors and industries.
“From my experience in my leadership role at the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce I have a deep understanding of the role the schools and colleges play in our local community,” she says. “Working with Sam at Stamford Welland Academy, I use my industry and sector knowledge to provide valuable insight and connections to further develop the ambitions and collaborations of local schools, benefiting not just the schools, but the young people, the businesses and the wider community.
“We can all agree that the Covid pandemic has brought about many workforce challenges, including changes in working environments, increased employee wellbeing and mental health issues, and communication challenges, to name a few. But actually what is enlightening is the opportunities we are now graced with, and a focus on the next-generation workforce is indeed one of those opportunities.”
Charlotte reflects that the pandemic has accelerated change in ways we didn’t expect, with an increase in digital capability in the workplace coming more quickly than expected.
“What is important now, particularly as we start to see glimpses of the ‘new normal’, is how we continue to bridge the gap between schools and employers, and how we enable employers to support young people to prepare for what the new world of work will be like, as employability skills become more and more important in a post-Covid world.
“An area that I believe needs some focus is linking career-related learning to the curriculum, which again offers lots of opportunities for employers to feed into, as well as providing an opportunity for businesses to better understand what the next generation might want from a workplace such as company ethics, values, and the work/life balance for example.
“I really feel the support the Enterprise Adviser Network provides to schools is essential, particularly as we start to rise to the challenges beyond lockdown."
The Greater Lincolnshire LEP is working in partnership with the Careers and Enterprise Company, with support from Lincolnshire County Council and our district councils, to create a network of high-calibre volunteers from local businesses. Click here to find out more and get involved.
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