Local businesses help raise career aspirations of Oxfordshire youth

150 school students from Oxford Academy took part in an exciting and interactive speed career networking session with Oxford employers like Unipart.

The session was organised to help students gain an understanding and awareness of the different careers that can be pursued locally and also helped increase the employers’ understanding of the skills and aspirations of the young people of Oxford.

As well as one to one discussions and group work activities, students were able to question representatives from companies including Unipart Group, British Gas, Oxford City Council, Wiley & Sons and Hart Publishing about their skills and competencies, in order to correctly identify the employee’s role. In a turn on the traditional interview format students then interviewed employees to find out about their career history, skills and work progression.

The activity has been developed through Business in the Community’s Oxford Business Class Cluster which partners employers with local schools and enables collaborative action to be taken in raising the aspirations of young people. Through companies working in partnership young people are able to learn about the variety of career paths available to them and how trends in the local employment market can impact on their decisions.

Frank Nigriello Director of Corporate Affairs at Unipart Group and HRH Ambassador for the South East region commented ‘As employers based in Oxford it’s vital that we inspire young people about current and future career paths in the city. 24,000 additional jobs are forecast to be created in the city by 2031, so we need to look at future trends in the employment market. Interventions like this enable schools and employers to work more closely together and I hope will leave students both inspired and assured around different routes into employment.’

At the end of the session. the students and business volunteers were asked the rate their experience of the event.

  • 85% of students agreed/strongly agreed that they now understand more about the different departments a business has e.g. HR & Finance
  • 84% of students agreed/strongly agreed that they understand more about the different options open to them after leaving school
  • 86% of students agreed/strongly agreed that they now know more about the qualifications and skills they needed to be able to follow different career paths
  • Of the business volunteers 100% agreed/strongly agreed that the students improved their ability to work in a team and help others
  • 84% of the business volunteers agreed/strongly agreed that the students improved their knowledge of what they might like to do in their future education and career
  • And 77% of the business volunteers agreed/strongly agreed that the event had helped to improve their leadership, management & coaching skills