News & Events

Poole Chamber of Trade and Commerce: Inspire the next generation with Young Enterprise

Poole Chamber and partners spearhead enterprise revolution on the south coast

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Over 300 young people from 13 schools across Poole, Bournemouth and Dorset this year took part in the Young Enterprise Employability programme thanks to funding from Borough of Poole, Aimhigher with BU, Bournemouth Borough Council and Christchurch and East Dorset Borough Council.

The programme however could not have take place without the small army of over 60 volunteers from the local business community who gave up their time to advise the students. Young Enterprise is the UK’s leading enterprise and employability education charity, delivering programmes to over 1,000 young people in Dorset alone each year.

The Employability programme seeks to address the need to ensure young people are prepared for work. A recent CBI education and skills survey found 78% of employers rate attitude to work as a key decision factor when employing, along with aptitude and other core employability skills. Young Enterprise programmes are essential in delivering these skills. This programme consisted of eight interactive workshops, culminating in a mock interview at various business locations, which was for some young people their first experience of an interview. 100% of the students who participated during the year have said they feel better prepared for work as a result of taking part.

Throughout the scheme young people were advised by business volunteers from the local community. By taking part, pupils learnt the importance of key transferable skills such as teamwork and decision making, which developed their confidence and communication with adults and understood the need for thought and preparation.

Business volunteers, teachers and students have said the programme is essential as schools can assist young people in accessing knowledge and gaining qualifications but this project develops the skills and attributes so often lacking in new employees.

Teachers agree with the value business volunteers add and the benefits of the programme, Ian Henry from St Edwards commented “It has given the students greater confidence in life beyond school and opened up their eyes as to the possibilities and opportunities as well as a chance to meet some real life people in real life situations.”

Business volunteers spoke about their life experiences whilst delivering the sessions. Jon Jenkins from Smart Accountancy Solutions who advised at LEAF said “The programme provided alternative perspectives for the students and built on their levels of confidence. This programme gives a perspective on life skills and how students will need to think when their day isn’t timetabled or arranged for them.”

Tim Sharp from Collaborate Consultancy, who advised at Twynham, commented that the programme “broadened their thinking in terms of what they needed to consider before employment. For some it helped define what career they wanted to aim for while the mock interview dispelled some negative myths they had held about the experience.”

The programme began back in 2009 and was initially created in support of Poole Borough Council’s passion to prepare local young people for work. Gwen Brennan-Barrass, Economic Development Officer from Poole who started the programme with Young Enterprise says “Seeing the young people involved responding to the advisor’s interaction, helping to develop their confidence and building aspirations over the eight sessions confirmed the need to ensure that this type of mentoring programme was rolled out in every school across Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole.”

Due to the success of the 2012/13 programme, it is expanding in to 18 schools next year.

If you, or your business feel you can support in any way, either though volunteering or administrative support please do contact hannah.cook@y-e.org.uk