The Careers & Enterprise Company today (7 June) announced the successful recipients of its £1.5 million Opportunity Area Fund, which includes Business in the Community’s education programmes in Ipswich, Stoke and Bradford to help thousands of young people in the region prepare for the fast-changing world of work.
The Opportunity Area Fund was allocated to programmes that can demonstrate their effectiveness in working with the young people in greatest need of support and follows on from the first wave of funding in 2016.
In total, the investment will support 21 organisations across the country delivering tried and tested programmes to over 143,000 young people that focus on careers and enterprise activities, including work experience, enterprise education, volunteering and skills development.
This comes at a time when careers provision is in the spotlight with the Government launching its Careers Strategy in December 2017, and an emphasis on schools to ensure they are meeting the Gatsby Benchmarks. This funding will help schools and colleges in the local area address gaps in their careers and enterprise provision and ensure that young people have access to the employer encounters they need to prepare for their futures.
Rachael Saunders, Education Director at Business in the Community, commented: “Children that grow up in poverty are less likely to succeed, at school and then at work. The UK has one of the lowest rates of social mobility in the developed world. Education is our greatest opportunity to break that cycle."
“ Our mission is for business to play its part so that every child, particularly those facing social disadvantage, achieves in education, leading to a successful working life and thriving in business. We will do that through mobilising the power of business. ”
CEO of The Careers & Enterprise Company, Claudia Harris, added: “I am delighted that we have been able to invest £1.5 million to support proven careers and enterprise programmes across the second wave of Opportunity Areas.
The Opportunity Areas remain a primary focus in our ongoing work to tackle social mobility. Since the launch of the first Opportunity Areas Fund we have launched our Cornerstone Employer initiative which now has over 50 businesses working to ensure that young people are fully prepared for the world of work. With young people needing at least one employer encounter per year whilst still at school or college, this funding will go a long way to helping providers and schools prepare them for their futures.”
About the Opportunity Areas
The Opportunity Areas were selected on the basis of the Social Mobility Commission’s social mobility index, containing a range of indicators equally weighted amongst: early years, schools, youth, and adulthood. The Opportunity Areas all score in the bottom fifth of the index and were labelled ‘social mobility cold spots’. These are Blackpool, Bradford, Derby, Doncaster, Fenland & East Cambridgeshire, Hastings, Ipswich, Norwich, Oldham, Scarborough, Stoke on Trent and West Somerset.