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Business people who volunteered to take part in an innovative scheme to give young people an insight into Lancashire's businesses have been recognised for their support.

The Enterprise Adviser Network aims to raise the aspirations of young people across Lancashire, and help them to make informed choices about their future career.

Twenty one business leaders from companies such as Accrol Papers Ltd of Blackburn, VEKA Plc, Burnley, and Herbert Parkinson, Darwen, were awarded certificates of recognition for their roles as Enterprise Advisers at a celebration event at The Dunkenhalgh Hotel, Accrington.

Claudia Harris, Chief Executive of The Careers & Enterprise Company, and Edwin Booth, Chair, Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), represented the organisations funding the network and made the awards.

The event marked the success of the Enterprise Adviser Network in Blackburn with Darwen and Burnley and the roll out in tandem of both the network and the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Jobcentre Plus Support for Schools pathfinder across Lancashire.

The first Enterprise Adviser Network, consisting of 21 schools matched on a one to one basis with an adviser, was set up in January this year in Blackburn with Darwen and Burnley. The response from the two local business networks, the Burnley Bondholders and the HIVE, was overwhelming.

The Enterprise Adviser Network is now being rolled out across the rest of East Lancashire (Pendle, Hyndburn and Rossendale), and also Blackpool, Morecambe and Preston this academic year, and the rest of Lancashire from September 2017 by the LEP and its delivery partner, Inspira.

Jobcentre Plus Support for Schools has also been piloted in Blackburn with Darwen and Burnley since the end of January 2016.

It assists schools in England to provide high quality, independent and impartial careers advice for school years 8 to 13 and provides advice on routes into traineeships and Apprenticeships, helps source and advise on work experience opportunities, and provides advice on the local labour market.

Mr Booth said: “I want to thank all the volunteers who have given up their time to work as Enterprise Advisers. They are doing an invaluable job raising pupils’ aspirations, providing an insight into the world of work, and enabling young people to make informed choices about their future.

“This is a fantastic initiative which will improve the prospects of thousands of Lancashire’s young people, as well as helping provide a pipeline of talent to fuel future business growth which is a key part of the LEP’s ambitious strategic plan to transform the county’s economy.”

Claudia Harris said: “I’m delighted to help present these awards in recognition of the work our Enterprise Advisers do in supporting young people in Lancashire.

“Our network relies on the drive and commitment of local senior business volunteers to help equip young people with the skills they need to make the successful transition from the world of education to the world of work.

“They provide a huge amount of knowledge and expertise and along with our partners in the LEP, we will continue to do all we can to help ensure that young people in Lancashire are informed and inspired to unlock their full career potential.”

Tim Dibb, DWP Policy lead for Jobcentre Support for Schools said: “The collaboration between Jobcentre Plus, the Careers & Enterprise Company, the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and employers in Blackburn, Burnley and Darwen, supporting schools and inspiring young people in their career choices, has been a brilliant example of how working together can make a real difference to the lives of young people.”

Business leaders in Lancashire who would like to become an Enterprise Adviser should email Kay Vaughan or ring 07812224458.

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