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Local employers pledge to help young people prepare for the world of work

Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership has announced the first two local businesses to become Cornerstone Employers, a progressive role which will give strategic support to clusters of secondary schools and colleges and empower careers provision in Cumbria.

Lakeland Arts and Oxley Group have partnered with Cumbria LEP and The Careers & Enterprise Company, investing time and resources working to inspire young people across the county, ensuring that they have access to meaningful engagements with employers and gain the vital work experience they need to help them make informed choices about their futures.

In becoming a Cornerstone Employer, Lakeland Arts and Oxley Group join a strong contingent of employers working elsewhere across the UK.

Having already proven themselves to be strong ambassadors for careers and enterprise provision, delivering a wide range of activities for local pupils, they will now act as champions to encourage more businesses in the area to get involved, as well as encourage their own staff to become volunteer Enterprise Advisers and pass their business knowledge on to the next generation.

The Cornerstone Employer scheme underlines a continuing commitment by Cumbria LEP to help young people in Cumbria prepare for the world of work. The Cumbria Careers Hub, a partner project between Cumbria LEP and The Careers & Enterprise Company, launched in January 2019 and now celebrating its 1st Year supports 40 secondary schools across Cumbria to deliver world-class careers education.

The Cumbria Careers Hub programme offers a range of opportunities for local businesses and organisations to engage and benefit from partnership with local schools and colleges.

  • Give an Hour asks individuals to volunteer one hour to share their career story and inspire the next generation;
  • The Enterprise Adviser Network invites senior business volunteers to give approximately 8 hours a month to a specific school or college and work strategically to strengthen and support career programmes;
  • and becoming a Cornerstone Employer allows individuals to represent their sector and give a Cumbria-wide view.

Together, they aim to ensure all young Cumbrians are prepared and inspired for the world of work.

Darren Cavan, CEO at Oxley Group, said: “Oxley is delighted to partner with the LEP and the Careers Hub in becoming a Cornerstone Employer.

“We are totally committed to building employability skills for the future and helping to raise the aspirations of young people; supporting them in making informed decisions about their future and providing positive career role modelling.

“Oxley is also focused on developing an interest in STEM careers and proactively supporting young women into STEM opportunities.

“Oxley has been in Cumbria for 77 years and the whole team feel an enormous sense of pride in giving something back to the community and supporting future generations.”

Helen Tappenden, HR Manager at Lakeland Arts, said: “Lakeland Arts is very proud to be among the very first Cornerstone employers in Cumbria. This fantastic initiative is a great way help prepare young people for the world of work.

“By working with local schools across Cumbria and partnering with other local employers we can develop skills across arts, heritage and many other sectors whilst also highlighting to our young people the breadth of employment that is available in Cumbria.”

Mike Smith OBE, Board Member and Chair of the People, Employment and Skills Strategy Group at Cumbria LEP, said “We are delighted to have Lakeland Arts and Oxley Group as our inaugural Cornerstone Employers.

“We look forward to their support in encouraging other organisations to become involved in this important work – inspiring and helping our young people to move successfully from education into work.”

If you would like to help develop the skills, aspirations and knowledge of Cumbria’s young people in order to ensure a strong and healthy talent pool of local individuals with an interest in working in your company or field, please email Cumbria LEP’s Head of Skills, Craig Ivison:

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