Volunteer school mentor numbers top 1,300

Gabriella Jozwiak
Monday, March 6, 2017

More than 1,300 volunteer mentors are now working in schools across England as part of efforts to boost careers education, it has emerged.

The Careers & Enterprise Company said the mentors are now delivering careers advice in almost half of all secondary schools and colleges in England. Each spends a minimum of eight hours a month at the school, where they help teachers build connections with local businesses and employers.

The Careers & Enterprise Company data showed 52 per cent of these so-called enterprise advisers are at chief executive, chair, director, partner or owner level in their industries, while the rest come from small and medium-sized enterprises and start-up ventures.

The advisers work at organisations including the NHS, technology firm Microsoft, and business process outsourcing company Capita, and are supporting a combined population of up to 1.3 million students.

Apprenticeships and skills minister Robert Halfon said the government was providing £90m to the Careers & Enterprise Company to help "transform careers education". 

"Introducing young people to a wide range of individuals from different backgrounds and career journeys is key to helping them raise aspirations and unlock their potential," he said.

The Careers and Enterprise Company chief executive Claudia Harris said the figures showed employers were willing to help young people transition into the world of work.

"This is the start of a national movement and we look forward to seeing it continue to grow in the months and years to come," she said.

She added that research published by the charity Education and Employers Taskforce suggests young people who have four encounters with the world of work are 86 per cent less likely not to be in education, employment or training.

The Careers & Enterprise Company is also working, as part of an initiative first announced by former Prime Minister David Cameron in January 2016, to encourage schools and businesses to work together to give low-achieving young people a better chance to succeed in life.

That scheme focuses on the estimated 25,000 young people about to start their GCSEs who are underachieving or at risk of dropping out.

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