BUSINESSES and students built bridges between the worlds of work and education at the ‘inspirational’ launch of Dorset’s Young Chamber programme.
More than 150 people – including students, business leaders and education representatives – packed the Gainsford Theatre at Lytchett Minster School for the Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) event.
DCCI is leading the initiative to strengthen links between education and business and help young people prepare for the workplace.
The launch event included a performance by the school jazz band, a question and answer session with a panel, presentations, light refreshments and networking between business people and students.
DCCI chief executive Ian Girling said: “The Young Chamber is an absolutely fantastic initiative which is well overdue.
“It is a visionary and innovative project which has already generated a great deal of excitement and support among schools and businesses.
“By investing our time and effort in young people we also invest in our country’s future. It is a tremendous opportunity for Dorset to lead the way nationally in support of young people.
“We’ve had a great launch and our sincere thanks to all who made it such a success. Now we’re looking forward to moving the programme forward in the coming weeks, months and years.”
The launch included presentations by Ian Girling, Lytchett Minster head teacher Andrew Mead, year 11 head prefects Megan and Dougie, and Mid Dorset and North Poole MP Michael Tomlinson.
Ian also introduced DCCI’s new Young Chamber advisor Will Montgomery, who has worked as a teacher and in business.
Guests on the panel were DCCI junior vice-president Paul Tansey, St Aldhelm’s Academy executive principal Sian Thomas, St Aldhelm’s Academy student Maisie Kirk, Business Partner TeamJobs’ managing director Jason Gault and Nicola Newman, who is chief executive of Ansbury Guidance career and employability experts.
They took questions on such subjects as apprenticeships, skills gaps, career paths, communication between education and business, risk taking and parental engagement.
Year 10 pupil Maisie said: “The Young Chamber programme will give all kinds of support, from improving our workplace skills to helping with careers advice.
“I’m really excited and can’t wait to get started.”
DCCI’s Young Chamber is part of a national British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) initiative to build stronger links between schools and businesses.
The programme is sponsored by DCCI Business Partners TeamJobs, BU and the Quantum Group and supported by Ansbury Guidance.
St Aldhelm’s Academy in Poole was the first school in Dorset to sign up to Young Chamber earlier this year. More than 80 businesses have expressed an interest in becoming involved so far.
Pupils from St Aldhelm’s and Lytchett Minster were among the guests as well as representatives from Bournemouth and Poole College, BU, Corfe Hills School, Kingston Maurward College, Linwood School, Weymouth College, Queen Elizabeth’s School, Talbot Heath School, Blandford School, Thomas Hardye School, and Weymouth College
As part of the Young Chamber, students will have access to high quality careers advice, expertise and knowledge. They will receive help to develop the skills needed for the workplace and form valuable connections with local employers.
The partnership approach will help young people realise their career potential and allow businesses to support the community and develop the next generation of talented young employees.
Activities will include talks, workplace visits, mock interviews, careers events, mentoring, work experience and workshops. Education providers will also have access to a pool of potential governors.
DCCI, the voice of business in Dorset, is the only chamber in the county accredited to the British Chambers of Commerce. It has about 800 members who employ more than 37,000 staff locally.
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