President's Heartbeat – 7th April 2019

“Our young people are our most precious resource. . .we must not fail them”

4th April at the Manor Hotel Yeovil, was a watershed moment for Yeovil Chamber, and marked the end of the beginning of our work to see the Yeovil business community and secondary academies working together for the benefit of all.  Nearly fifty people attended our Education Special Breakfast.  Significantly; the attendees included the heads of The Park School, Westfield and Stanchester Academies, and senior figures from Bucklers Mead, and Preston Academies, along with key figures from Fiveways SEN School, and Yeovil College.  Also in attendance were business leaders from Bradfords, Jones Building Group and Leonardo Helicopters, Albert Goodman Accountants, and many other Yeovil employers and entrepreneurs.

In my address, I described the work Chamber has been doing to bring education and industry together in Yeovil, and said: “Our young people are our most precious resource; we must not fail them.” The speakers were Jo Skeel (HOTSW Careers Hub), Andrew Hanson (Somerset Education Business Partnership (SEBP)), and Julie Young (South Somerset 14-19 Careers Partnership).  Andrew Hanson and SEBP will take up the initial work of Yeovil Chamber, to bring business people into schools, and from here onwards, Yeovil Chamber will ‘signpost’ business people and employers into schools as required, with the assistance of SEBP and the other agencies.

The speakers outlined how their agencies working in unison have addressed the challenges and will deliver opportunities.  Jo Skeel talked through the statutory requirements for careers advice, including the new GATSBY requirements, and why schools need to work with business.  Andrew Hanson detailed the role of SEBP in developing a talent pipeline unique to each school with the assistance of the Yeovil business sector, and Julie Young outlined the good practice which sees South Somerset leading the way, and the opportunities this is creating.  Yeovil Chamber will act as a ‘portal’ for both parties in conjunction with SEBP, to influence the School and College curriculum, and to network key figures and stakeholders across the business, local government and education sectors.

High employment and the huge diversity of skillsets across South Somerset brings challenges to both the education and employment sectors.  Employers also cite concerns about young people’s readiness for work.  These are challenges which Yeovil Chamber, and its’ work since 2015 with Yeovil College have already met, and are securing opportunity for employers and education in the Yeovil area.  Today’s breakfast saw the completion of the first phase of Yeovil Chamber efforts to put employers and entrepreneurs into Yeovil’s Secondary schools, to deliver life skills, ideas and careers options’ enhancing and influencing the curriculum towards South Somerset employment requirements, and allow our children to hit the ground running when they enter the world of work and careers.

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Released on 11/04/2019