Inspiring Business by Sharing Success

Chamber backs new scheme to get businesses more engaged with primary schoolchildren

The region's biggest business support organisation is lending its support to a new initiative which aims to connect primary schoolchildren across Derby with local employers, to help introduce them to the world of work.

Our Future – Derby is a new project funded by Derby City Council, which supports the Department for Education’s Opportunity Area Programme.

It aims to inspire children and connect primary schools across the Derby Opportunity Area (which includes Abbey, Arboretum, Boulton, Chaddesden, Derwent, Normanton and Sinfin) with local businesses.

East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) is supporting the shceme and is calling on its member businesses in those areas to lend their support to the project by volunteering to engage with primary schools and help raise their pupils’ aspirations.

It is hoped that engaging local employers will help to open children’s eyes to their future career possibilities and develop their employability skills.

It will also encourage parents to raise their children’s aspirations and support teachers in linking classroom learning with the needs of the local labour market.

In addition, the project will spark conversations at a range of events across the city to help broaden horizons, raise aspirations, and open up a world of greater opportunities to the children, their families, and their teachers.

Research conducted by the charity Education and Employers, in 2018, found that children as young as six had already decided what careers they could or could not do in the future.

In the main, this was influenced by who they know and what they see on TV, with only one per cent having been inspired by someone visiting their school.

The Chamber is delivering the project on behalf of the City Council, with its partners Learn by Design, Forum Talent Potential and DMH Associates.

Working alongside Education and Employers, we aim to ensure that children in primary schools receive an inspiring programme of activity until summer 2020.

Pieter Eksteen, the Chamber’s Education and Business Partnerships Manager, said: “Our Future - Derby is an innovative programme which aims to inspire children and help them see the link between their education and the world of work from an early age.

“It’s all about bringing children, parents, schools, teachers and employers together to plant the seeds of hope and raise pupils’ aspirations for their futures.

“Research shows children’s aspirations are often shaped, moulded, and restricted by gender stereotyping, socio-economic background and the people they meet in their local area.

“We believe that collaboration between schools, families and businesses will help children to gain a better understanding of world of work, the opportunities that are out there and how they can make the most of them.”

Businesses wanting to take part can use the initiative's online matchmaking platform to search for volunteer opportunities in local schools or respond to schools invitations, and say how they would like to get involved.

Their commitment can be as much, or as little, as they can offer, from giving up just one hour a year to share their career journey with young people in a school, to becoming a school governor.

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