From education to employment

Giving young people a voice

Young people sharing ideas with local businesses on the Isle of Wight.

Young people’s thoughts on island life. 

Giving young people career information and guidance can be done in a range of ways. One of the most effective, as outlined in the government’s Careers Strategy for schools and colleges, is giving students a taste of the world of work.

The Careers & Enterprise Company is actively supporting events like the Isle of Wight’s Regeneration Conference 2018, which created a fun and engaging experience between employers and young people on the island.

Young people can give a unique and positive view of the world if given the chance.

The Conference, organised by the IOW Council’s Regeneration team and The Careers & Enterprise Company, generated free and frank discussion around what makes life on the island so special.

Meeting local employers made young people rethink where they might see themselves in the future.

More than 150 students aged 11-18 from schools and colleges across the Isle of Wight took part in a conversation around their ‘place’ on the island.

Working alongside a range of local businesses, they heard from inspirational guest speakers, took part in interactive activities and had meaningful conversations with people who could be their future employers.

Very much a two-way street, these caring and outspoken young residents shared their thoughts on employment, sustainability and everyday life.

The Careers & Enterprise Company sees this kind of engagement as key to helping them get an understanding for the fast-changing world of work and wider opportunities.

Guest speakers shared their career journeys covering the range of jobs available in their industries and the skills they value in their workforce.

The message was clear: opportunities are abundant and life and work on the island can be rewarding.

Joe Davies, Member of Youth Parliament for the IOW, talked passionately about taking all the opportunities available to young people and encouraged them to get involved in the community.

He explained that over the last year he has been “giving it a bash” including taking part in the DofE Award, a Young Enterprise project and other local campaigns.

During the conference, areas on the island that had been identified as in need of regeneration were discussed.

Teams of students from different schools worked with employers and architects to come up with creative solutions, drawing, modelling and describing their plans.

The winning team presented an innovative idea redesigning Newport town centre, rethinking the multi-storey car parks use and encouraging a greener more aesthetically pleasing town centre with environmental considerations.

Reniera O’Donnell, Assistant Director Regeneration, IOW Council said, “The young people have said they have learnt a lot about the employment opportunities on the island and feel really inspired by the speakers. To see them engaging so positively in how we regenerate their surroundings is fantastic.”

During his closing remarks, Cllr Dave Stewart, Leader of the IOW Council said, “The purpose of this event was to ignite thoughts on what the island has to offer. We were hugely impressed by the presentations and energy displayed by all the young people in the room.

“I am reassured that the future of the island is in safe hands, I feel truly inspired by what I’ve seen today.”

Jade Fuller, Enterprise Coordinator at Solent LEP has worked hard to make the Youth Conference a reality:

“The Careers & Enterprise Company’s Enterprise Adviser Network in the Solent has brought together students and employers to raise the aspirations of young people, and to increase the number of meaningful encounters they have with the world of work.

“The number of local businesses in attendance at the conference shows the commitment the business community has in supporting the young people and helping them understand the opportunities available to them.”

Following the event, one student said: “I didn’t realise how many opportunities there were on the island, it’s made me rethink my future here!”

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