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Local engagement helps achieve the Gatsby Benchmarks

Skills development is central to creating local conditions for sustained innovation, excellence and growth, and through our shared cohesive skills agenda we are connecting educators and employers. Bucks Skills Hub and the Enterprise Adviser Network (part of the Careers and Enterprise Company’s national network) supported 70,000 employer-student encounters in Buckinghamshire in 2017/18.

Bucks Skills Hub is part of Buckinghamshire LEP, which is developing a growth-focused Local Industrial Strategy to build on key industrial assets in the county, such as Pinewood, Silverstone and Westcott. As part of this, the skills strategy is evolving around The Inspiration Revolution: inspiring young people to pursue technical and professional careers as part of the new technical education and training system (T-Levels, apprenticeships), which is seen as key to meeting the skills and workforce requirements of businesses associated with the priority sectors and raising productivity across Bucks LEP, as well as inspiring employers and young people through a new technically-led system.

In order to enable this vision to come to life, Bucks LEP brought together local headteachers, careers leads and Enterprise Advisors in one room to rally the troops around the same agenda: ‘Why every learner should have access to a quality careers inspiration programme’. The aim was to raise the profile of the Careers Leads and encourage more top-down engagement to achieving the Gatsby Benchmarks - and through end of year evaluations of the schools’ benchmarks’ progress, this event was evidentially a success! 

Attendees had a packed speaker agenda of specialist and varied stakeholders, including: 

  • Marina Jackson, Under 19 Skills Manager for Bucks LEP
  • Kerry Senatore, Regional Lead for The Careers and Enterprise Company
  • Emily Tanner, Head of Research at The Careers and Enterprise Company
  • Carl Ward, Chief Executive of The City Learning Trust
  • Richard Harrington, Chief Executive of Bucks LEP
  • Dena Read, Intermediaries Manager for The Education and Skills Funding Agency, part of the DfE
  • Helen Hill, Careers Lead at The Misbourne School
  • Simon Jones, Head Teacher at The Cottesloe School
  • Kay Mountfield, Head Teacher, Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School
  • Kathryn Maidment, Community Liaison Manager, Pinewood Studios Group
  • John Akhurst, Student from The Misbourne School

“Firstly, the conference engaged me and didn’t talk to me as if I was lacking in anything. It was interesting and accessible. In providing a global overview of the provision of careers, I had one of those epiphanies, which helped me to understand that I might not be fulfilling my moral purpose (the focus for everything and every decision I make) for my students. The thought of letting them down is abhorrent to me and so I knew that we had to have an additional member of staff to support the lead. I was lucky enough to have a potential candidate so all I had to do was find a source of funds and that was down to moral purpose too!

"The panel sessions covered a broad area of discussion from different perspectives. As my first event as an EA, good to hear perspectives of teachers, EAs and students and to hear about best practice and to see the vision and mission.” - Rachel Smith, Headteacher, The Beaconsfield High School

“Thank you both for your part in planning and leading the event this afternoon. I left with some nuggets to share with the SLT and careers staff at CHA and there were some interesting presentations.” - Kevin Patrick, Headteacher, Chiltern Hills Academy

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