A programme designed to improve careers guidance in North-East schools has been such a huge success that it is to be developed further to support businesses and ensure a skills pipeline for the future.

North East Ambition was launched in 2017 by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to ensure all of the region’s schools and colleges achieve the Gatsby Good Career Guidance benchmarks by 2024.

The use of the benchmarks has been proven to lead to better student outcomes and raise aspirations among pupils, so much so they were adopted by the government and feature in its national education strategy.

Now North East Ambition will work with businesses to assess their future skills requirements and open up opportunities to develop and upskill their workforce, partnering with the Education Development Trust to deliver the programme.

Dedicated skills facilitators will work directly with businesses to identify their long-term needs and develop a bespoke plan to support them in addressing current and future skills gaps.

Information for businesses will also be added to the North East Ambition portal, alongside a data hub to provide the latest labour market information.

Michelle Rainbow (pictured), skills director at the North East LEP, said: “The expansion of North East Ambition is a great way to continue to build upon the fantastic work that has been done so far.

“We know the labour market is facing rapid change with increased digitisation and new technologies and businesses will need to prepare for and adapt to that.

“By harnessing the success of North East Ambition, we can engage with businesses and facilitate the collaboration needed to allow employers to invest in the right skills and future-proof their workforce.”

Elaine Inglis, assistant director, careers, at Education Development Trust, commented: “We are very excited to be building on the excellent work undertaken by the North East LEP in establishing the North East Ambition programme.

“Having employees with the right skills will play a key role in helping local employers recover from the effects that Covid-19 has had on the economy.

“We know that for many SMEs it can be challenging to understand what skills development and training options are available and how to access these, which is where we can provide support.”

A key part of the North East LEP’s strategic economic plan, North East Ambition built on the successful good career guidance benchmarks pilot, which saw sixteen schools and colleges in the North East LEP area implement the benchmarks identified by Sir John Holman and the Gatsby Foundation.

An independent report recently praised the pilot for its transformational effect on careers guidance in the region.

The North East Ambition programme is part-funded by the European Social Fund.

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