Making sure young people are equipped with the skills to succeed and enjoy the world of work is of vital importance to our economy and communities.

1st September 2017

I firmly believe it’s the responsibility of businesses, like Esh Group, to drive that forward.

Now in its 7th academic year, Building My Skills continues to be a success, forging much needed relationships between employers and schools.

Our year-long employability programme provides students in years nine and above with a rounded introduction to working life.

It shows them what different sectors are like to work in, what employers look for in interviews and applications and provides them with practical experience of interviews.

We now work with one in three North East secondary schools and, to date, have opened up the world of work to 45,000 students – two achievements that are testament to the hard work of everyone involved.

In the 2017/18 academic year, we will work with 50 schools in the North East – that means 8,000 more students will leave education with a good knowledge of the many great career opportunities available in our region and with the knowledge required pursue them.

Earlier this year, the North East Chamber of Commerce launched its campaign to help develop young people’s work skills, opening the door to other businesses to get involved in Building My Skills.

In doing so they help to inspire young people into careers in their sectors, and build their own employees’ experiences at the same time.

The success of the scheme would not be possible without the continued support of our partners, some of whom – including Ryder, ARUP, Turner and Townsend, PWC and Swinburne Maddison – have been supporting the programme over the past six years.

Last year, our partners delivered 1,600 mock interviews to students who had completed all five sessions and their employability portfolio – giving them an insight into real life interviews and the different jobs and apprenticeships available.

It’s so positive to see so many new businesses getting involved too. This year, we welcome new partners EXXON Mobile, Vodaphone, Aldi, Chemoxy and Nestle, to name a few.

Through the NECC’s extensive network we’re able to add to the diverse range of businesses that can help young people understand their sectors, and I look forward to working together to make a difference.
I’m very proud of our Added Value team’s work, delivered as part of Esh Group’s commitment to deliver social value beyond its contractual requirements. Building My Skills is just one part of that.

We’ve also developed ‘Get into STEM’ kits for primary schools to engage students at an early age and plan to work with 40 schools in the North East during 2017/18. We should all be aiming to positively shape career aspirations of young people. After all, they’re our future workforce.

Our work with schools, both primary and secondary, is critical to this. We’ll continue to invest in and improve our programmes and hope that other businesses, big and small, will see value in doing the same.

Andy Radcliffe, chief executive of Esh Group

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