From education to employment

Professional services careers initiative has engaged over 25,000 young people to date

Exciting year ahead for professional services initiative that has engaged over 25,000 young people

Capsticks, PwC and Arcadis are among the high-profile business, professional and financial services (BPFS) firms celebrating success and looking ahead to another year of engaging young people across the West Midlands with the future of the sector. Now entering its second year, the Growing Talent BPFS West Midlands careers programme has engaged over 25,000 young people to date, helping to encourage social mobility and diversity and support young people’s careers in a sector where regional employment is set to grow 31% by 2030.

Delivered by Ahead Partnership, Growing Talent BPFS West Midlands has engaged with 60 schools and colleges in the region to date through practical activities including events, careers panels and workshops. The second year of the programme launched with an impactful festival in November 2021, following which 91% of students had an increased understanding of the professional services sector; and 90% of teachers felt better-connected to employers in the sector.

Sponsored by Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP); Pinsent Masons; PwC; Cushman & Wakefield;  Arcadis; Capsticks; Birmingham Enterprise Partnership; The Careers & Enterprise Company; and BMet, digital and face-to-face activities for 2022 are now well underway. This year’s programme will include careers panels, Meet the Employer events, inspirational guest speakers and workshop masterclasses,  taking place online from 14 March to 8 April.

These events will be coupled with the roll-out of free Immerse & Progress interactive learning resources available to all secondary schools and colleges across the region, which provide an in-depth but accessible look at roles and skills for PR & marketing; ProfTech; commercial law; HR & people; the built environment; and corporate finance. These interactive digital resources can be used by students at school or college, or learning at home, to understand and develop the skills needed to work in these subsectors and have been designed directly with some of the region’s top employers such as Eversheds Sutherland and Mills & Reeve.

Stephanie Burras CBE, chief executive of Ahead Partnership, said:

“BPFS is set to see significant growth in this region over the coming years, so we’re committed to helping businesses find the talent they need and enabling young people to pursue their aspirations and grasp the opportunities for themselves.

“We’ve already reached tens of thousands of young people through the programme and we know that this type of engagement works – already, we’ve had fantastic feedback from students about their increased understanding of the sector. A big focus for this year is to ensure that as many young people as possible have access to the programme and resources through a flexible digital and in-person blend of activities. We’re looking forward to another successful year.”

Hilary Smyth-Allen, BPFS Sector & Modern Services Lead at Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), also commented:

“The BPFS sector is the largest in the West Midlands and that growth is predicated on strong connectivity with our super youthful, super diverse population. Through this programme, we have opened up the vast opportunities that exist within the BPFS sector to thousands of young people giving them access to the extensive future careers on their doorstep. Taking into consideration the way we all work now, it’s critical that students are offered a hybrid package of resources and that’s why it’s great that practical activities are supplemented by digital platforms. This will all contribute towards developing the BPFS ‘stars of the future’ who will play a role in the wider prosperity of the region. Initiatives like this have been at the core of delivering on GBSLEP’s mission to drive inclusive economic growth through developing a future pipeline of talent for major BPFS employers across the West Midlands.”

Martin Hamilton, Managing Partner and Executive Champion for Equity Diversity and Inclusion, Capsticks Solicitors LLP, added:

“Growing Talent BPFS is a really important and timely initiative – not only for our sector, but for our region. As an employer, we know the scale of potential that this sector offers to the future of business in the West Midlands, and we are taking responsibility to ensure that young people across Greater Birmingham and Solihull understand the opportunities available ‘on their doorstep’.

“We’re committed to creating a more inclusive environment for the sector, and programmes like Growing Talent BPFS enable us to engage with young people from diverse backgrounds who have the talent and skills needed to thrive. The initiative is also a rewarding way for our colleagues to help young people learn in a practical way and feel that they are really making a difference – whether from home or the office.”

Growing Talent BPFS West Midlands is one of a number of ESG and social value initiatives that Ahead Partnership is delivering with businesses across the UK.

For more information about Growing Talent BPFS West Midlands, or to express your interest in taking part in the programme, you can visit Ahead Partnership’s website.

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