Small businesses urged to 'give an hour'

A new campaign looking to increase the number of Lancashire businesses engaging with schools and colleges is asking SMEs in the county to ‘Give an Hour’.

The aim is to help young people make career decisions and succeed in their working life.

The drive has been launched by The Careers and Enterprise Company (C&EC) in conjunction with the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

LEP board director for skills and technical education and principle of Nelson and Colne College, Amanda Melton, said: “We’re asking people who work in small and medium enterprises to give up an hour of their time to tell young people what the world of work is really like.

“We’re looking for anything from a single hour in total to an hour a week and there are lots of ways to get involved, depending on what suits participants.

“Hearing from local SMEs is proven to help young people in their careers and boost their employability. But it will also benefit businesses too, making it easier for them to recruit in the future.”

Anyone who works in an SME at any level is being encouraged to share their career journey and insights with young people in local schools and colleges as this unique industry knowledge and experience could make a difference to students’ career options.

Giving up an hour or so is really nothing when you consider the enormous benefits to young people.

Activities can include attending careers fairs, giving talks in assemblies or lesson time, hosting workplace exploration visits or talking one to one with an individual who has expressed an interest in a particularly relevant sector or industry.

Along with the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, the C&CE also funds the Enterprise Adviser Network and The Careers Hub in Lancashire, both of which are delivered by Inspira.

Paul Spencer, managing partner of Haworth Chartered Accountants in Accrington, is a volunteer Enterprise Adviser who is partnered with St Christopher’s High School in the town.

He said: “Working with local colleges and schools is extremely rewarding. Not only do we help to inspire young people, we can make a real difference to their lives, and help produce future leaders for our sectors.

“I would encourage any local business to get involved – giving up an hour or so is really nothing when you consider the enormous benefits to young people.”

Richard Jones, headmaster at St Christopher’s High School, said: “Work experience and careers education is an integral part of the curriculum at St Christopher’s.

“The industry experience that employers are able to provide is invaluable to our young people.”

The campaign, which will run for two months, aims to get as many businesses as possible to register their interest.

The C&EC was established in 2015 to help link schools and colleges to employers, in order to increase employer engagement for young people.

If you would like to get involved visit www.giveanhour.co.uk and register your interest or contact an Enterprise Co-ordinators on info@inspira.org.uk or on Twitter @InspiraStuartG