Suffolk County Council pledges to help boost employability and skills for Ipswich students

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Suffolk County Council has announced its partnership with The Careers & Enterprise Company to become a ‘Cornerstone Employer’, working with other employers to develop employability and skills in schools and colleges. It will act as an ambassador for social mobility, by galvanising their networks and committing to work with other Cornerstone Employers.

Suffolk County Council, working with The Careers & Enterprise Company and the New Anglia Enterprise Adviser Network, will provide young people in the Ipswich Opportunity Area with access to meaningful engagement with their employees. It will help to provide the vital work experience they need to help them make informed choices about their futures.

In 2017, Ipswich ranked 292 out of the 324 local authority areas included in a nationwide ‘Social Mobility Index’. The index assessed the chances that a disadvantaged child (measured by whether they are eligible for free school meals) will perform well and get a job. As a result, Ipswich was selected as one of 12 ‘Opportunity Areas’ in England to receive an equal share of a £72 million funding pot to deliver plans that will help build the knowledge and skills of local young people and provide them with the best advice and opportunities to progress.

Part of the programme will focus on greater collaboration to bridge the gap between education and employers and Suffolk County Council, along with 9 other local organisations – BT Adastral Park, East of England Co-operative, Ipswich Building Society, Ipswich Town Football Club, John Grose, Lloyds Banking Group, Morgan Sindall and Realise Futures – has committed its support to make this happen.

Nicola Beach, Chief Executive of Suffolk County Council, said: “We were delighted to join the other Cornerstone Employers leading the development and delivery of the Ipswich Opportunity Area Business Plan. This demonstrates our continued commitment to helping young people in Suffolk to develop vital skills that will provide them with the best chance of securing employment. Suffolk County Council has been engaging young people about employability and skills at events held in schools, including supported mock interviews and have provided summer placements. We have also successfully agreed with the Raising the Bar awards to include a new apprenticeship category to the Inspiring Young Person of the Year Award. We will continue to work hard to ensure that the future is bright for the young people of Suffolk.”

Councillor Matthew Hicks, Leader and Cabinet member for Economic Development and Infrastructure, said: “Suffolk County Council has a strong commitment to support young people and to increase social mobility. As a Cornerstone Employer, it is important we lead by example and encourage other organisations to become involved in the excellent work that is helping young people successfully move from education into work. We would encourage local employers to get involved in this excellent scheme and see what they can do to help, even if it is as simple as a workplace tour and a talk. We will continue to regularly engage with the other Cornerstone Employers in Suffolk and use our combined influence to make an impact wherever possible.”

Jordan Holder, Enterprise Coordinator at New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “We are thrilled to announce Suffolk County Council as one of our Ipswich Cornerstone Employers who will work as ambassadors for social mobility to help increase the number of meaningful encounters local young people have with the world of work.

“Suffolk County Council have already committed to supporting our Enterprise Adviser Network with staff volunteering their time to work with local schools. I’m keen for young people to learn about the opportunities of working in the public sector and the vast array of exciting and aspirational roles available locally.”

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