NEXT month will see businesses across Daventry invited to an event that it is hoped will build on important links that are already being forged between schools and the workplace.
Daventry District Council has joined forces with SEMLEP to co-ordinate improved provision for work experience and employment encounters, where young people are given a chance to find out more about the world of work.
That could mean anything from a one-off site visit, a lecture, mock interviews through to shadowing, work placement and apprenticeships.
Companies are invited to attend the Developing Your Future Workforce event at the iCon in Daventry. Over a buffet lunch, proposals will be set out for a programme to run throughout the 2019-20 academic year.
Cllr David James, Daventry District Council's Economic, Regeneration and Employment Portfolio Holder, said: "It is in the interests of both the employees and the employers of the future to forge links that help achieve work-ready candidates.
"Young people benefit greatly from finding out more about what the workplace is like, what they can expect and what is expected of them. At the same time, the employer get an insight into how a young person operates, their strengths and potential for development.
"We're hoping to attract a wide range of businesses to the event, including some of those involved in our key projects, such as Willmott Dixon who are leading the new cinema development, Arcadia from DIRFT and Stepnell, from the Catesby Tunnel project."
Visitors to the event will hear about an initial encounter organised to bring together Volvo in Daventry, youngsters from Daventry Hill School and sixth form students from Parker E-ACT Academy.
Stacey Drake, Careers Leader from Daventry Hill School, a co-educational school for pupils with special educational needs, explained how valuable a three-day work education programme had been for pupils from the two schools.
"For our young people, sitting in a classroom listening to someone tell them about what goes on in a workplace isn't always appropriate - they need to see and experience things for themselves and the days we spent with Volvo achieved that," she said.
"Working with the Volvo team and the sixth formers from Parker E-ACT gave our pupils the opportunity to get involved in a way they haven't experienced before. They were all given a tour of the facility and given a real insight into what it's like to work for Volvo.
"The facts show that the full-time employment rate for those leaving education with special educational needs is between 4.8 and 6 per cent, which is frustratingly low. A lot of companies see employing someone with a disability as an added complication but it really doesn't have to be. For instance, in a technical world such as the one in which Volvo operates, someone with the typical traits of autism - a desire for order, repetition and accuracy, maybe - is perfectly suited to the type of jobs another person may find tedious.
"We need to help businesses see those positives and overcome their doubts and see the benefits of keeping an open mind. Part of this initiative is to help employers benefit from the government funded Disability Confident Scheme, which supports employers in making the most of the talents of people with disabilities."
Following the three-day programme, Kevin Meeks, Head of Customer Experience for Volvo said: "We found all eight students who visited us to be engaged, intelligent and inquisitive and some had astonishing insights into things like design and production. We ended up frustrated that students with disabilities are often overlooked for employment. Our conclusion so far is that 'special needs' should be interpreted as 'special talents'.
Any businesses or schools that want to find out more about the programme, or the event on 10 May, should contact Daventry District Council on 01327 302441.
Developing Your Future Workforce
Icon Innovation Centre, Eastern Way, Daventry
Friday, 10 May
11am to 2pm
Call 01327 302441