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Businesses urged to back virtual work experience programme

Businesses of all sizes throughout Cumbria are being invited to support an ambitious work experience programme aimed at providing 3,000 placements for young people throughout the county.

Cumbria Careers Hub has teamed up with the national charity Speakers for Schools, founded in 2010 by ITV’s Political Editor Robert Peston with a mission to help level the playing field for young people of all backgrounds.

The two organisations are aiming to recruit up to 50 employers within Cumbria to take part in the programme by offering virtual work placements of between one and five days to a target of 3,000 young people, aged 14-19.

Businesses urged to back virtual work experience programme

The Careers Hub was launched in January 2019 and has developed an effective partnership between employers and careers leaders in schools and colleges to drive forward careers education across the county.

It is managed by the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP) along with the Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC).

Mike Smith OBE, CLEP Board Member and Chair of its People, Employment and Skills Strategy Group, said: “We are very excited about the prospect of joining forces with Speakers for Schools to help our youngsters aged between 14 and 19 enjoy a high quality virtual experience of the world of work.

“Employers in Cumbria now have the opportunity to repair some of the damage that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about by curtailing work experience opportunities this year.

“Speakers for Schools has significant experience in this field and will offer full support to any employer who’s prepared to step in and help out, whether it’s for one day, three days or for five days and regardless of the organisation’s size.

“All we ask is that you are prepared to take a little time out of your working week to give our youngsters a helping hand on the careers ladder by introducing them to a working environment.

“The regional team from Speakers for Schools are on hand to support you every step of the way to create and deliver quality experiences using Google Classroom that will inspire, inform and craft career ambitions and progression for young people of Cumbria.”

Jason Elsom, Chief Executive Officer, Speakers for Schools, said: “In an unprecedented year for schools, employers and most importantly, young people, Speakers for Schools is committed to levelling the playing field for school students of all backgrounds.

“This new partnership with Cumbria Careers Hub will enable us to work closely with schools and leading companies across Cumbria to provide high quality work placements.”

Interested businesses can find out more about the programme by signing up to one of two half-hour employer events scheduled for next month – Tuesday 1 December (08.30-09.00) or Thursday 3 December (17.00-17.30):

For further information, please contact CLEP Enterprise Co-ordinator Ali Beard on 07767 902676 – e-mail:

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