Bernicia highlight school enterprise success

Bernicia’s Jackie Johnson told business and education leaders of the success of our partnership work to help give school pupils the skills and self confidence they need to seize job opportunities.

Jackie (pictured second left) was a lead speaker at the North East Enterprise Adviser Awareness event staged at the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult in Blyth.

She is pictured with Denis Heaney (left) and Lucy Johnson, both of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), and the ORE’s Ben Moore.

Jackie detailed our partnership with the ORE team and North East LEP, working with Duke’s Seconday School in Ashington.

Bernicia and the ORE Catapult – which specialises in researching and testing technology for wind, wave, tidal and solar power – work with school Principal Steve Gibson and his careers team at Duke’s to ensure pupils know the skills and personal attributes today’s employers need.

As enterprise advisers for the North East LEP, Jackie and ORE Catapult’s Ben Moore were able to tell the audience of the benefits of the programme and the hard work needed to ensure maximum returns for all involved.

The Enterprise Adviser Network, run by the North East LEP, has 120 advisers drawn from North East firms, working in 105 secondary schools and colleges.

Its ultimate aim is to give young people more experience of the world of work, to give them the best possible chance of heading down the career path of their choice by engaging with people in senior business roles.

Jackie told the audience one of the main reasons Bernicia signed up to the programme was to get more local school pupils applying for its apprenticeship opportunities.

“We made a conscious decision to start to engage more with schools, we really believe that we can raise young people’s aspirations,” she said.

“We decided it would be a good idea to work collaboratively with the ORE Catapult to bring more meaningful and structured content to the young people we were working with. As a result, we’ve put together an annual careers plan at Duke’s, real progress which can be rolled out in each academic year.”

As a result of the enterprise adviser work, 42 applicants for the last round of apprenticeship positions at Bernicia, out of a total of 750, were from local schools enrolled into the programme. This is a substantial rise from seven years ago when Bernicia first started its schools engagement work.