From education to employment

Exciting new education partnership with global finance business to spark ambitions of young people in Middlesbrough

A new partnership between education charity The Talent Foundry, international savings and investments business M&G plc and Middlesbrough Council is giving secondary school students access to exciting opportunities designed to prepare them for the world of work

Working alongside schools and local businesses, The Talent Foundry and M&G plc will deliver hands on career workshops and mentoring to Middlesbrough’s young people, raising aspirations and helping students make positive choices about their futures.

The programme, designed to help young people from a range of backgrounds discover new skills and follow their passions, includes:

  • A mentoring programme targeted at young people who are not reaching their full potential, and who could benefit from extra support and motivation to discover what they excel at
  • A series of ‘lightbulb moment’ workshops designed to spark interest and motivation in specific sectors where there are employment opportunities in the Teesside area
  • Enterprise Challenge workshops for year 7 and 8 students focusing on developing an excitement and interest in core maths skills. Students will take part in an immersive project, using ‘maths by stealth’ to arrange their own music festivals for thousands of people by using budgeting, shapes, averages and data analysis to make decisions on artist bookings, site layout and catering.

The first three Enterprise Challenge workshops have taken place with students from Outwood Academy Ormesby, Outwood Academy Acklam and Acklam Grange School providing brilliant feedback.

Comments from students included:

“it helped me to get more confident in speaking in front of people”, “I had the chance to be creative and solve problems at the same time” and “I learnt that maths is involved in most jobs and I had lots of fun”.

Cate Smith, Head of Programmes at The Talent Foundry said:

“With the number of jobs predicted to rise in the Tees Valley by 25,000 over the next decade, there is a vital need to ensure that skills gaps are addressed and that talent is retained in the area.

“We see remarkable talent every day in the projects we deliver across the country, but we know that all too often, young people do not have access to the support networks or skills development opportunities to allow them to discover what they’re amazing at – and this project will help address that.”

Cllr Mieka Smiles, Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Children’s Services, said the programme delivered by The Talent Foundry would help show students “the sky is the limit”.

“We have incredible schools in Middlesbrough doing brilliant things for our young people day in, day out,” Cllr Smiles said.

“To complement that we are delighted to be offering a set of fantastic opportunities coordinated by a leading national charity and supported by a worldwide business.

“We want the best for our children and this series of events, mentoring and workshops will hopefully spark the imaginations and ambitions of students around Middlesbrough. We want to show them that the sky’s the limit and they can achieve their dreams by learning and working in their local area.”

Jane Rawnsley, Group Head of Corporate Responsibility at M&G plc said:

“We have supported The Talent Foundry and the Skills for Life programme for eight years now and it is a programme we are incredibly proud of. 

“Despite the heroic efforts of so many teachers and parents across the UK, the pandemic has caused massive disruption in the education and future career prospects of so many young students across the UK and this programme provides a unique insight into the world of work, equipping them with the skills they need to succeed on whichever pathway they choose, be that university, an apprenticeship or employment.”

The Talent Foundry is keen to hear from local businesses with an interest in supporting the next generation and reaping the benefits of a well-skilled local workforce to take part in the programme.

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