Two Matlock firms are investing in the next generation by helping a secondary school develop its careers strategy in order to prepare students for the world of work.
Highfields School, on Upper Lumsdale, has recruited Anne Ashman as an enterprise advisor, drawing on her wealth of experience as manager of Tansley companies Mobile Visual Information Systems (MVIS) and Bartco UK.
Her role will involve giving students every possible opportunity to explore their options and learn about work, and supporting the school to meet the Gatsby benchmarks set out in the government’s new careers strategy.
She said: “MVIS and Bartco UK are committed to supporting local youngsters as they prepare for the world of work, and as such, I am delighted to be able to strengthen the firms’ involvement in the development of Highfields’ careers strategy by becoming an enterprise advisor.”
The two companies operate in the intelligent transport system (ITS)sector, which applies information and communication technologies for the benefit of road infrastructure, vehicles and users.
Based on Brookfield Industrial Estate, MVIS supplies ITS products and integrated solutions created by Bartco UK, including solar-powered monitoring and signage equipment, all featuring leading-edge technology.
The two companies already run a work placement programme for Highfields students, and Anne plans to use her extensive network of business contacts to open up more opportunities throughout the industry.
She said: “The highways sector faces a shortage of recruits - especially in technical careers - and so I am always hopeful that as a result of our work with the school, some students will consider it as a potential career route.”
She added: “Cain Gregory, our technical apprentice, joined us following a successful placement while at Highfields, and our apprenticeship scheme is proving a great career springboard.
“Our assistant operations manager, Dom Bridge – another former Highfields student - was recently promoted to the role, having joined us as an apprentice four years ago.”
Students will also continue to benefit from special projects such as last summer’s MVIS Challenge, where year eight students were asked to consider the wider role the firms’ signs could perform.
Highfields’ skills coordinator Jane Turner said: “The school is committed to meeting the requirements of the government’s new careers strategy, and I am absolutely certain that Anne’s advice will help us to get there.”
Launched in December, the government strategy draws on research from the Gatsby Foundation, which focuses on strengthening science and engineering skills through technical education.
There are eight Gatsby benchmarks which are intended to test career guidance against the highest international standards.
They require that each school has a careers programme linked to labour market trends and running throughout the curriculum.
Careers advice should address the personal needs of each pupil, offer encounters with employers and experience of workplaces.