The Lancashire Careers Hub annual conference

Lancashire Careers Hub conference brings schools, colleges and businesses together

Hundreds of people from local schools and businesses came together at the Lancashire Careers Hub’s annual conference.

Around 200 delegates from schools, colleges and Lancashire's business sector met at the University of Central Lancashire to share ideas and aspirations at the event, held in partnership with Future U, a collaborative project funded by the Office for Students and made up of universities, colleges, and other key stakeholders.

Among the inspirational ideas to be unveiled was a new initiative aimed at boosting employment and transitions into work from school called 'Work Ready Lancashire.’

Developed by the Lancashire Careers Hub in partnership with the Lancashire Chambers of Commerce, ‘Work Ready Lancashire’ is aimed at linking education and businesses to boost the attributes that Lancashire employers are looking for and help young people to better secure jobs.

A yearly highlight in school, college and business calendars since its launch in 2016, the conference focuses on sharing good practice and helping raise the quality of careers provision available to young people at school and college.

Its vital links with businesses are critical in enabling young people benefit from encounters with employers and workplace experiences throughout their educational journey.

Among the top speakers was John Yarham, deputy CEO of the Careers and Enterprise Company, which co funds the Lancashire Careers Hub with Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackpool Council, who spoke of the future vision for careers provision at a national level, and complimented the exceptional work going on in Lancashire.

Ian Parry, director of Education at Southport Learning Trust, spoke of the trust’s experience in embedding aspiration across the curriculum to boost the ambitions of young people in schools, describing a ‘whole village approach’ involving businesses and the local community to support young people.

Meanwhile, a major boost in cyber jobs was described by a speaker from the National Cyber Force, a partnership between the Ministry of Defence and GCHQ, which will be based in Samlesbury from next year.

With the National Cyber Force based in Samlesbury, he said a new ‘cyber corridor’ stretching from Lancaster to Manchester is on the horizon, bringing skilled jobs to Lancashire. It will also help to grow the technology, digital and defence sectors and encourage partnerships between government, industry and universities.

Also on the menu at the conference were many career opportunities, with the Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub overseeing the  Lancashire Careers Hub and working with leading employability experts and careers charity Inspira.

John Yarham, deputy chief executive of the Careers and Enterprise Company, said:

"It was a pleasure to be part of the Lancashire Careers Hub Conference to celebrate and hear about the good practice taking place in schools and colleges across the area with employers. 

Young people in Lancashire benefit from a whole range of planned and creative careers interventions throughout the educational journey – inspiring young people about the plethora of job opportunities in the locality. 

"The partnership with employers is critical – the Work Ready common language tool developed locally with the Chambers of Commerce and employers will further benefit young people as they transition from education to the world of work."

Kay Vaughan, Careers Hub Lead, for Inspira, said:

“The Lancashire Careers Hub is supporting schools and colleges across Lancashire enabling more than 90,000 young people to experience encounters with employers, further and higher education and apprenticeships providers.

"It is helping them to have those inspirational moments, those lightbulb moments, a nugget of information or an experience that inspires them and helps them to navigate what their next best step should be.”

County Councillor Ash Sutcliffe said:

"I was delighted to attend such a great, bustling event, and it was brilliant to see so many businesses who are committed to engaging and working with schools, colleges and our young people. 

"It was fantastic to see so many people being upskilled and empowered to perform their own roles better too.

"We are committed to joining forces with stakeholders like Future U and with Lancashire's thriving businesses to develop a highly skilled workforce for the future, which is so important to the Lancashire economy and to us at Lancashire County Council.”