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East Midlands Chamber News

New skills initiative in Derby will put school children’s futures first

A new and exciting initiative which engages primary school children and introduces them to the changing world of work is being rolled-out across 37 primary schools in Derby.

Our Future Derby is being delivered by East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) in partnership with Learn by Design, Forum Talent Potential, DMH Associates and Education and Employers, as part of the Derby Opportunity Area.

The Derby City Council funded initiative, which is operating throughout seven Wards in the Derby Opportunity Area, includes: Abbey, Arboretum, Boulton, Chaddesden, Derwent, Normanton and Sinfin. It connects primary school children and teachers with local businesses – helping reduce the skills gap between education and the world of work. Chamber members indicate the gap is widening and this is a perennial issue that need urgent action.

The four primary objectives are – to open children’s eyes to future career possibilities; develop pupils’ employability skills; encourage parents to raise children’s aspirations; and support teachers in linking classroom learning with the needs of the local labour market.

So far, thirty-one primary schools have signed up to participate – which means pupils, parents/carers, employers, volunteers and teachers alike will be engaged in activities, exercises and personal development proven to deliver tangible results.

The initiative was launched recently at the Riverside Centre, Derby, with close to 100 delegates in attendance. During the event, attendees were joined by pupils from Pear Tree Community Junior School, who demonstrated one of the activities included in the Our Future Derby programme called ‘What’s My Line’, involving pupils asking a panel of individuals different yes-or-no questions about what their job might be before guessing from their answers; a practical way of encouraging children to think about different types of jobs.  

Chris Hobson, Director of Policy at East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), said: “Our Future Derby is an innovative programme which aims to inspire children and help them establish the link between their education and the world of work from an early age.

“It’s about bringing children, parents/guardians, schools, teachers and employers together to plant the seeds of aspiration and create a positive view of future career opportunities.

“We believe collaboration between schools, families and businesses will help children gain a better understanding of work, the opportunities out there and how they can make the most of them and I would encourage the local business community to support this important and worthwhile initiative.”

Nicola Swaney, Education Outreach Manager at Rolls-Royce and board member at Derby Opportunity Area Partnership, added: “I am delighted, on behalf of the Derby Opportunity Area Board and Rolls-Royce, to support the launch of the Our Future Derby programme.

“Our Future Derby is an exciting initiative aimed at inspiring primary school children about careers and the world of work. Role models from Rolls-Royce and other local businesses will take part in interactive sessions focused on increasing knowledge and understanding, dispelling myths and stereotypes and encouraging diversity.

“Our Future Derby is just one of the programmes supported by the Derby Opportunity Area in order to raise aspirations and opportunities for young people in the most disadvantaged areas of the city.”

Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE, Research Director, said: “Research shows children’s ambitions are often shaped, moulded, and restricted by gender stereotyping, socio-economic background and the people they meet in their local area. We need more employers and volunteers to step up and come into schools to help broaden children’s horizons. Evidence clearly shows this makes a difference to long-term educational, social and economic outcomes.”

Businesses and individuals can get involved in the programme in a number of ways – from becoming an Inspiring the Future Volunteer to attending a Volunteer Training event.

For more information, visit bit.ly/EMC_OurFutureDerby.

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