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European funding to help bridge the gap between employers and young people in Berkshire

There are many examples of good employer-education collaboration in Berkshire, but currently, only 4 out of 10 employers in Berkshire offer work experience opportunities and fewer than 1 in 10 provide other types of work inspiration. Furthermore, only 1 in 5 employers in Berkshire currently has links with educational establishments. Research from the charity, the Education and Employers Taskforce, tells us that young adults who recall four or more encounters with employers while at school are five times less likely to be unemployed.

Thames Valley Berkshire LEP’s 2018 Skills Priority Statement makes clear that around three-quarters of Berkshire’s annual intake of new labour market entrants attended schools in Berkshire, so employers and careers professionals working with local schools have the opportunity to influence the careers choices of a large proportion of Berkshire’s future talent pipeline.

A Call has been published by the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP), to support and co-ordinate linkages between local employers, schools, colleges and young people aged 15-24, to provide meaningful and inspirational experiences of the world of work. The Call is valued at £1,088,029 but DWP does not intend to allocate less than £270,000 of European Social Funding to any single project.

Huw Edwards, Chair of the Thames Valley Berkshire European Structural Investment Funds sub-committee, says: “This Call aims to help young people along the pathway into a fulfilling and sustaining job by providing them with informed education and careers choices. The LEP has already invested in skills, education and employment in Berkshire through projects such as the Careers & Enterprise Company, with over 40 schools already linked with an Enterprise Adviser. But more can always be done with projects that deliver activities such as showcasing career pathways and progression opportunities or simplify and support the process for employers.

“We are committed to inclusive economic growth, which is why we are investing to help bridge the education-to-employment gap informed through our 2018 Skills Priority Statement and programmes such as the European Social Fund.”

The LEP is encouraging organisations to apply for funding. The application process closes on 10 July 2019. More details can be found at www.gov.uk/european-structural-investment-funds/supporting-employers-to-promote-career-opportunities-and-experience-of-the-world-of-work-in-thames-valley-berkshire-oc35s19p1362

The LEP is hosting a webinar on Tuesday 7 May, 2pm-3pm, which will include more information on the Call as well as the support available to applicants and a partner finder service. Register for this event at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/950417149900461058

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