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    NAA Skills Update: Why you might be receiving a schools engagement leaflet in the post

    May has been a busy month for Autohub on the marketing front, firstly with the launch of our website and secondly with the final preparations for the schools engagement leaflet which is now being mailed out.

    The website contains information on apprenticeships and news on workforce development activities within companies. We are also planning to introduce a section on case studies, so we are keen to hear about any success stories you would like to share.

    Please take a look at the site and let us have your feedback so that we can understand what you would like to see included and what will benefit you most.

    The schools engagement leaflet has been developed in response to comments made by members of the Autohub Steering Group who expressed a keen desire to see Autohub supporting employers to make contact with their local schools and explore opportunities for working together.

    But why is it necessary for companies to engage with schools?

    Most importantly, we need to inspire young people. Students need positive role models and there is often a lack of information and advice available to students on careers in engineering and manufacturing which can be perceived as being dull, so we need to open students’ eyes to the opportunities available to them in the automotive industry. And employers can engage with students of any age. It’s never too early to start planting seeds which will generate interest in a particular field, and inspiration at an early age will encourage students in their studies and help with their subject choices.

    Working with companies can also help to underpin students’ classroom learning. Being able to link their lessons to real life activities helps students to understand the relevance of what they are being taught. In addition to improving skills, support from companies can also help to improve the confidence of students.

    So what’s in it for employers?

    Raising the profile of your company in the local community will help you to attract staff and if you are looking to recruit apprentices, offering work experience to students could introduce you to a pool of potential candidates from which you can select and reduce your recruitment costs.

    In addition, staff whose employers support them to engage with schools will feel more valued and the experience will contribute to their CPD and can help boost their confidence.

    Any size of company can work with schools (I once came across a self-employed engineer who mentored local students and helped them with their project work) but smaller companies do not always know how to go about making contact with schools which is why we have produced the leaflet.

    There are numerous ways you can engage with schools including offering work experience (don’t forget that teachers need to learn about industry as well as students), mentoring, hosting school visits or sending staff into schools, or if you are not able to offer a great deal of direct contact, you could always consider sponsoring an engineering project, several of which are available to schools via well-respected organisations which are always on the look-out for local sponsors.

    Please keep a look out for the leaflet. It includes a handy tear-off strip which you can send to schools so it couldn’t be easier to make contact. And if you still feel that you need a little more information and guidance before contacting a school, Autohub is always on hand to assist.

    Susan Butters
    Project Manager, Autohub
    Tel: 07815 284360

    European Regional Development Fund Northern Powerhouse
    Partners Department for Business Innovation and Skills Finance Birmingham