NE1 Can continues its drive to address the region's skill gaps
The resounding ‘Yes’ vote NE1 Ltd received in its BID re-election in 2018 was great news not just for the businesses it represents in Newcastle City Centre but also for the wider North East economy and young people in local schools and colleges across the city.
A third, five year business term for NE1 Ltd, running to March 2024, has secured NE1’s future and the future of one of its innovative projects, NE1 Can. The project aims to tackle the region’s skills gap by linking employers and businesses directly with young people to raise aspirations and to provide direct access to the next generation of talent, the region’s future workforce.
It is now full steam ahead for NE1 Can with an expansion of the programme of highly successful career insight days and employer engagement events it has hosted over the last 2 years.
The feedback from the 1500 young attendees from over 40 schools and 15 youth providers who have already benefited from the NE1 Can experience, has been overwhelmingly positive. Travelling from schools across the region, 99.5% say they would recommend NE1 Can’s activities to a friend, 88% feel well prepared for their career path after attending an NE1 Can activity (from a starting point of 45%) and 90% (from a starting point of 52%) feel they understand what employers are looking for from them in a job interview.
Since its launch, NE1 Can has delivered a wide range of benefits for businesses and for young people. For businesses, as well as the opportunity to have early and direct access to talented young people, staff who have hosted the events say the experience has been incredibly rewarding and an enjoyable distraction from their daily routine. The events have also helped boost corporate team morale and provided an effective way of businesses engaging in and with the community. For young people NE1 Can events have helped expand horizons and provided young people with the knowledge and experience to help them make more informed career choices. On a practical level, the NE1 Can events have also provided CV and interview preparation training, careers guidance and career insight days. There have even been a number of job offers secured via the events.
Last year, the NE1 Can team were exceptionally proud of the STEMtastic Event organised jointly with Virgin Money. 14 businesses across a range of STEM disciplines were involved together with over 200 young people from schools throughout Tyne and Wear. Hosted at Virgin Money’s flagship head office, the event showcased a range of STEM careers to an audience of pupils aged between 12 and 14 years old who are starting to make key decisions about their academic futures and the career paths they could choose.
NE1 Can also ran a pilot programme with Newcastle City Council for more vulnerable learners from the Prosper Trust, exploring and expanding horizons for young people who were due to leave school but had no idea about next steps. The event gave most of the attendees their first experience of a real workplace environment.
A series of highly successful events for young women focusing on careers in which they are traditionally underrepresented were also organised by NE1 Can during 2018. Over 100 girls attended NE1 Can’s hands-on coding events organised with tech company Zerolight and attendees met female engineers and inspirational role models at engineering company, British Engines. 60 young people, including girls, also took part in an event to find out more about careers in construction in conjunction with contractors on site at NE1’s Bigg Market Heritage Lottery Funded rejuvenation project. This live construction site demonstrated the wide range of careers available within the sector – from conception and planning to project completion.
With the much-publicised education funding cuts, NE1 Can’s ability to facilitate career insight and taster days through NE1’s close links with businesses means that demand often outstrips supply – from both businesses and young people!
Teenagers frequently get a bad press but the young people who have attended NE1 Can’s programmes have been full of positivity and potential. It is evident that the regional youth market is brimming with talent. With a new year and a new five-year term for NE1 Ltd, NE1 Can is determined to do more to tap into this potential. The region’s young people are vital to filling the skills gaps in sectors such as technology, construction and finance.
To attract and retain world class businesses and to staff the many market leading companies based here in the region, especially in the tech sector, the North East must be able to supply a steady stream of talented young people with the right skills and attitude.
NE1 Can is nurturing this talent pool and hopes that by doing so, it will help the city region to thrive. The need to inspire, train and retain the region’s talent is high on NE1’s agenda and it is at pains to involve as many businesses as possible in the campaign.
Over 100 employers across 11 sectors have already engaged with NE1 Can and the target is to increase this substantially in 2019.