Project Coordinator Sarah Jackson describes the benefits that the new employability programme in Berkshire will bring to students, employers and the county as a whole.

We are pleased to announce the launch of the Berkshire Education Employer Partnership (BEEP).

Funded by the European Social Fund* and delivered by Adviza in partnership with employers and education centres locally, its purpose is to align young people and employers in Berkshire, encouraging businesses to create opportunities, nurture talent and develop employability skills in young people.

BEEP will help retain and grow talent and skills pools across the county, broadening young people’s exposure to different career opportunities. There will be a mixture of opportunities for young people, including work experience of varying duration, mentoring, Zoom chats and events: we will explore every available opportunity to provide valuable experience about the world of work.

Broadening horizons

When I was fifteen, if you’d asked me what sort of career options might be available in, say, the automotive industry, I’d have replied without hesitation, “mechanic” or, at a push, “engineer”. It’s easy for a young person to assume the automotive sector is not for them if they don’t have ambitions to be an engineer. Little might they suspect that it also offers careers in sales and marketing, data, design, software engineering, project engineering, HR, talent acquisition, learning and development and many more.

For many of us, it’s not until later in life that we discover a world we never imagined – of opportunities we didn’t know existed, of careers that really speak to us. BEEP will broaden horizons for young people, and I strongly believe some participating in the scheme will end up in careers they never previously considered.

BEEP, education and training

Crucially, BEEP will facilitate partnerships between local education centres—such as those delivering the new T-Levels—and employers, so that students can gain meaningful work experience alongside their study. As we deliver the BEEP programme, Adviza will bring to bear our expertise in careers information, advice and guidance, helping young people discover opportunities and resources for further study or training. We won’t only facilitate work experience, but also exposure to learning opportunities, study and qualifications that could help young people achieve beyond their expectations.

Supporting employers

The ultimate beneficiary of BEEP will be the region itself; we’ll be helping ensure businesses in Berkshire have a generation of new employees, and keeping vital skills in the region.

Even so, it’s no small thing for an employer to take on young work experience students, interns or placements. An employer may recognise the potential of young people, but feel ill-equipped to coach them throughout the working day. A key part this project will be the suite of services and high-touch support Adviza will provide to employers. We will work hard to ensure they are equipped and confident to work with young people.

Investing in the future

The success of BEEP will reflect local employers’ belief in the value of supporting young people, arming them with the skills they need to be model employees. Meanwhile, local schools and colleges can participate by referring students for work experience.

And despite all the doom and gloom in the media, now is a good time to sow the seeds of a future workforce in time for economic recovery. We need employers to work with us on this, and while they do that, they can challenge perceptions about careers.

BEEP is one of the most exciting projects Adviza has been involved with and I firmly believe it will transform the aspirations of many young people. The response from employers so far has been hugely encouraging – clearly, transforming futures is something we can all sign up to.

How employers can get involved with BEEP

Adviza is seeking more local employers to work with us and provide events, challenges and work placements. In return we will help you to build your confidence working with young people through a team of professional experts, ongoing support and regular contact.

Work placements for the BEEP project will vary in style and duration but could last a week (five full days) or one day per week for four-to-ten weeks up to a total of 60 hours. Internships usually last for two-to-three months for a total of 90 – 150 hours, and industry placements can last for a year and include 150 – 250 hours with an employer. If you can help us with this fully-funded project, please get in touch. We are likewise seeking more educators, schools and colleges to be involved in the programme.

Employers don’t need to be able to offer full work experience in order to participate. You can make a huge contribution by allowing young people to visit and see what goes on behind closed doors—or to Zoom with young people about the careers you offer, what a typical working day looks like, or so on. There will also be opportunities to mentor to young people, so there are many ways to help.

Our young people can do anything. Let’s help them.

To learn more or get involved in BEEP— either as a participating employer, school or college—contact our team at [email protected].

Find out more about BEEP

*The project has received funding from the European Social Fund. The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme.