County scoops title of Best Careers Hub in England and three commendations

Lancashire Skills Hub and delivery partner Inspira have won the national award for the Careers Hub of the Year.

The annual Careers Excellence Awards shine a light on best practice careers provision, inspiring and preparing young people for success in the world of work.

The hub brings schools and colleges together with universities, training providers, employers and career professionals with the aim of providing a ‘gold standard’ in careers education for local students.

And it was a night to celebrate for the Lancashire delegation who were commended in three other categories at the ceremony at the Royal Society of Chemistry in London:

Neil Conlon, the Business Development Manager for Preston-based Conlon Construction, commended for Enterprise Adviser of the Year. He is a voluntary Enterprise Adviser for Eden Boys’ School in Preston, helping the school plan and develop its careers programme.

He is also a private sector member of the Lancashire Skills and Employment Advisory Panel, which works on strategy and planning for skills and jobs. Mr Conlon said: “I am delighted to have been awarded the commendation for Enterprise Adviser of the Year. I would encourage other Lancashire businesses to get involved and help inspire our young people.”

Shuttleworth College, Burnley, was commended for School of the Year, for an excellent careers programme meeting all eight Gatsby Benchmarks – the Ofsted-recognised standard for world-class careers provision.

The college is lead school for the Lancashire Careers Hub and Head Teacher, Ruth England, is on the Lancashire Skills and Employment Advisory Panel.

 Mrs England said: “We are thrilled with the commendation. The business and education networks we have built as part of the Careers Hub and working alongside the LEP have been great. It is fantastic to see more and more of our young people benefitting from quality encounters with employers and training providers.”

Pendleside Hospice, Burnley, was commended for Small to Medium Business of the Year for delivering a tailored careers programme to schools or colleges, with an innovative approach.

Chief Executive Helen McVey is an Enterprise Adviser and the hospice is very proactive in working in its community with schools and colleges and inspiring young people. She said: “We are thrilled at the commendation. This is testimony to the time staff from the hospice have given to inspire young people across Burnley and Pendle. I would encourage more businesses to support the Give an Hour campaign, investing in both your current and future workforce.” Those wishing to get involved should visit www.giveanhour.co.uk.

The Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC) run the nationwide awards in partnership with the Gatsby Foundation. They go to schools, colleges, employers, local areas and providers which demonstrate best practice in careers provision.

Over the past few years, the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), working through the Lancashire Skills Hub, has launched a wide-ranging drive to improve careers education in the county, working closely with schools, colleges, local businesspeople and careers management delivery partner Inspira

Steve Fogg, chairman of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: “Creating sustainable skills and employment to drive prosperity is key to Lancashire’s future, so this award is a fantastic achievement. Lancashire is doing leading work in this area, and the Careers Hub team and all the partners should be rightly proud of this deserved national recognition.”

There are 131 schools and colleges in the Lancashire wide Enterprise Adviser Network, and 30 in the Careers Hub which spans Blackpool, Burnley and Pendle

LEP Board Director for Skills and Technical Education and Chair of the Lancashire Skills and Employment Advisory Panel, Amanda Melton, said: “We are thrilled and proud at this huge national recognition for the quality of careers work in Lancashire.

“Following on from the recent success of eight local schools and colleges in being recognised as providing world-class careers education, these awards show that young people in the county can now access high standards of careers education across the board.

“As a result, they have better job prospects and businesses can access a wider talent pool, helping them grow and succeed. Through our Give an Hour campaign, we are asking more local business people to volunteer a little of their time to work with local students.”

Cllr Graham Cain, Deputy Leader of Blackpool Council (Children), said: “This is great news and well-deserved recognition for the fantastic work that is being done by such committed people.

“In Blackpool, the Careers Hub team and the Opportunity Area Programme work hand in hand to deliver the Blackpool Careers Journey. There is great progress being made to ensure that our children have the skills and achievements to face the future with ambition and self-confidence.”

Burnley Council Leader, Councillor Charlie Briggs said: “This is a great achievement for both Lancashire and Burnley.  I am particularly pleased to see two Burnley organisations, Shuttleworth College and Pendleside Hospice, were commended for the work they do in delivering careers programmes.  It is well recognised that these programmes can inspire young people and raise their aspirations for what they want to achieve both in school and in their work.”

Pendle Council’s Leader, Councillor Mohammed Iqbal said: “Pendle is proud to be part of this award winning partnership and we’re grateful to the business people who volunteer their time as Enterprise Advisors.

“Businesses involved include Silentnight and arts organisation In-Situ, as well as colleagues who work for Pendle Council. We team up for mock interviews and speed networking events to help young people practice the skills they need for work.

“And an innovative part of our support has been in providing headsets so that students can take an inspiring virtual reality tour of some of our leading businesses.”

Mark Bowman, Chief Exec of Inspira said: “The nominations are a fantastic accolade for the all the hard work the careers partners, Enterprise Co-ordinators and Enterprise Advisers have done to connect the business world with education institutions in Lancashire.”

Read next Maven Capital Partners leads £4m funding round in Relative Insight