Janine first came across the Enterprise Adviser role through the CIPD when she was looking for professional development opportunities. Since joining the network, she has worked with Beverley School, a Special Education Needs School supporting children with autism. She’s continued her work with the network and now supports schools through her role as Enterprise Coordinator at the Tees Valley Combined Authority.
Janine was matched with Beverley School’s careers leader and began work to expand the careers strategy which already had a strong focus on enterprise, to include more emphasis on employability. Together with other external support, they held skills development sessions on topics such as; CV writing, interview techniques, mock interviews, providing insight about the world of work and interacting with employers through careers fayres.
Janine was able to utilise her strategic skills developed through her HR career to pull together the ad-hoc careers events that were already in place and build on them to create a logical plan that the school could follow and deliver against.
Connecting employers with SEND schools
A huge part of Janine’s role was using her HR and business background to connect employers with the school. SEND schools are in equal need of employer engagement as other types of schools, and Janine utilised her networking to bring in employers for careers fayres.
The school has since been able to build a bank of key employers who have had lasting relationships with the school and have been able to provide placements, work experience, site visits and loaned equipment for the school.
Benefits for students and employers
Bringing employers into Beverley School has also allowed them to understand how young people with educational needs can fit into their organisation. They’ve been able to see first-hand at Beverley School, the skills that young people with autism can bring to their organisation.
Janine has taken learning back to her own employer and has provided a work experience placement for a student. Through doing this it has helped the businesses to better understand the adjustments they can make in the work place to ensure that it is an inclusive employer. The student also gained a huge amount from the experience; “I did work experience in an office. I leant new techniques, when I leave school it’s something I’d like to do”
Working with a SEND school
Janine’s advice to any employers, businesses or volunteers working with a SEND school is to not be put off if they lack experience working in this environment, the teachers know the student’s needs and they are best placed to advise on any adjustments needed. The Enterprise Adviser’s role is to provide the business support and insight to help the school embed the careers strategy, and to do the networking and engaging with employers.
She encourages all people looking to support a SEND school to be open minded and to approach the careers strategy as you would with any school. She found the Gatsby benchmarks to be great blue print to start thinking about putting the school’s strategy in place.
Continuing to support the network
Janine enjoyed her volunteering experience with the school so much that she wanted to continue to support the network and now works as an Enterprise Coordinator at the Tees Valley Combined Authority. She now supports more schools by matching them with volunteers, and still works closely with Beverley School.
The Tees Valley secured one of 20 national Career Hub pilots in 2018 through the Careers and Enterprise Company supporting 35 schools across the region on careers education. The first wave of the Hub has seen some of the strongest improvements in careers provision offered in schools across England since its launch and has now been successful in an expansion bid to cover all 11-18 Tees Valley schools and colleges.
The Hub will continue bringing together schools and colleges with employers, universities, training providers and career professionals to improve outcomes for young people, through a relentless focus on best practice. The careers team at Tees Valley Combined Authority are looking for more Enterprise Advisers, and more businesses who can connect with the network and give some of their time to get in front of the students and inspire their future. If you would like to get involved, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.