Employers will join up with schools and colleges across the country as part of a project to better prepare young people for the world of work.
A network of “enterprise advisers”, volunteers from businesses and the public sector, will be introduced today to help schools connect with employers and provide students with careers advice.
The launch of the programme follows criticism earlier this year over the government’s careers service provision in schools.
During a Commons Education Committee in January, Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, was grilled by MPs over a lack of adequate careers advice.
But the Careers and Enterprise Company, an employer-led organisation set up by the government to prepare students for the workplace, hopes to provide young people with direct support from businesses.
The body aims to fill the gap left behind when Connexions was scrapped by the former education secretary Michael Gove in 2011 and the service became the responsibility of schools.
Full-time coordinators, who will support the enterprise advisers, will help schools and colleges understand what programmes are available in their area – including speakers in schools, help with CV writing and work experience.
The initiative is based on research by the Education and Employers Taskforce along with YouGov, which shows that young people having greater contact with employers leads to better employment outcomes.
In December last year, Ms Morgan announced plans to establish the Careers and Enterprise Company with £20 million of initial government funding.
Launching the initiative the Cabinet member said: “The nationwide rollout of the enterprise adviser network is a significant milestone for the Careers and Enterprise Company, signalling its commitment – shared by this government – to giving young people across the country a first-hand insight into the world of work.
“The company is a key component of the government’s drive to expand opportunity to all young people, regardless of background or where they go to school, to shape their future, and I am extremely encouraged by this latest development in its work.”
In a recent survey, 60 per cent of businesses told the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) that school leavers lacked the skills to succeed in the workplace.
Neil Carberry, CBI Director for Education and Skills, said businesses want to help deliver “a step-change in careers support” which, he claims, is currently not offering young people enough help.
About the new initiative, he added: “enterprise advisers will be a big help towards that – helping business people share their insight and experience – so we look forward to working with the Careers and Enterprise Company to make these advisers a success, as part of their wider work in addressing the careers advice deficit in England’s schools.”
The Careers and Enterprise Company is working with the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to initiate the nationwide rollout. Twenty six areas are planned to launch this month with a second wave starting before Christmas and a third in early 2016.