A charter which sets out how Wiltshire and Swindon organisations pledge to work together to equip the future workforce with the necessary skills to be a success, has been signed by key partners.
The Swindon and Wiltshire Employability Charter was recently signed by Baroness Scott of Bybrook, OBE, Leader of Wiltshire Council, Helen Birchenough, Chair of Wiltshire College and Assistant Chief Fire Officer Michael Stead of Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service.
The charter was launched in November 2015 by Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council to boost the employability skills of young people entering the workforce. It was developed by a taskforce of employers, education providers, leading employer groups, training providers, the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the two local authorities.
Employability skills are attributes over and above academic achievement and have been defined by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) to include: self-management, teamwork, business and customer awareness, problem solving, communication and literacy, application of numeracy and application of information technology.
The charter allows organisations across Wiltshire and Swindon to publicise what they are pledging to offer or what is already on offer via a live ‘pledge-ometer’. This interactive tool captures the type of engagement activity committed to and can track the number of organisations involved in the initiative. Already more than 450 pledges have been made.
There is also the opportunity to showcase good practice. Businesses can ‘pledge’ to offer or get involved in various ways such as offering traineeships, apprenticeships, work experience placements, role model visits and support with careers and enterprise days.
Similarly, schools and colleges can ‘pledge’ to the charter to demonstrate they are embedding this vital work into their curriculum, that they are adequately briefing and preparing students before embarking on work experience and highlighting ways in which they want to engage more with business.
Atkins Global Ltd in Trowbridge recently supported Clarendon Academy with their Next Steps Conferences and mock interview sessions, and also supported Melksham Oak by attending careers fairs, supporting mock interview days as well as presenting on apprenticeships and women in engineering
Wiltshire Council has already been active in the charter by pledging to continue delivering and promoting apprenticeships, coordinating work experience opportunities, attending school careers and jobs fairs and carrying out inspiring role model visits into schools. The signing of the charter underlines the commitment to the scheme. The initiative puts industry directly in touch with schools and colleges encouraging increased business engagement in education. It works in tandem with the Swindon & Wiltshire Enterprise Adviser Network, a nationally funded Local Enterprise Partnership project by the Careers & Enterprise Company.
Baroness Scott of Bybrook, OBE said: “We are committed to ensuring Wiltshire has a strong local economy and this is an excellent long term initiative to help achieve that.
“We often hear how young people may have all the right academic qualifications, however they don’t have the skills to hit the ground running when they start working. This charter means we can share good practice and by working together we can give young people the necessary tools to ensure they are ready to enter the workplace.”