Joined up thinking for students through employability skills workshops

Young Chamber and Young Enterprise have come together to support students through an innovative programme funded by JPMorgan
Young Chamber and Young Enterprise have come together to support students through an innovative programme funded by JPMorgan

Secondary school students in Dorset are benefitting from a new partnership between Dorset Chamber’s Young Chamber Programme and Young Enterprise to help with the delivery of Young Enterprise’s newly launched, innovative Employability Skills DASH (Dorset and South Hants) programme.

Funded by a two-year grant from Dorset Chamber Platinum Business Partner member J.P. Morgan, provided through the JPMorgan Chase Foundation which has a key focus on supporting people to achieve better employment and skills outcomes, DASH is providing 1800 students across 25 schools in Dorset and South Hampshire with a twelve-hour Employability Masterclass, at no cost to schools.  

J.P. Morgan has a Technology & Operations centre in Bournemouth with a strong history of community engagement with partners such as Dorset Young Enterprise. Over the past 10 years, the two organisations have collaborated on a number of community development and education-based initiatives in the Bournemouth and Poole area.

As a result of the programme students will be better prepared and make more informed decisions on their future careers, new relationships will be formed between schools and local employers, young people will have an increased awareness of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) sector employment opportunities and apprenticeship offers promoted.  

Hannah Cook, Area Manager at Young Enterprise who is leading the DASH Programme said: “Volunteers play a significant part in the delivery of the programme, bringing real world experiences into the classroom to benefit students. As part of Dorset Chamber, Young Chamber works with schools and has the ability to identify and contact additional volunteers from a variety of sectors across the Chamber’s membership to support DASH. We are keen to attract volunteer support from as many wide and varied backgrounds, job roles and routes to success as possible so students have a full range of people in business to speak with.  Young Chamber has already played a key role in widening our pool of volunteers, as well as taking part in DASH sessions.”

Split across four sessions, the twelve-hour masterclass in each school builds students’ confidence, enhances their communication, team work, planning and leadership skills, and provides an insight into business and employment life, especially among ‘in-demand’ sectors such as STEM.  The delivery is followed up by further real-world experience via workplace visits and work placements.

The programme culminates each year with a ‘key competencies’ event where students will have the opportunity to ‘match’ their skills with the employability skills demanded by local employers.  

Gary Ford, Managing Director, J.P. Morgan, Bournemouth said, “J.P. Morgan firmly believes that all members of our local communities should have a chance to take part in and benefit from the wider economy. As the way that people work and the types of jobs available transforming, now more than ever it’s crucial that young people, particularly those who may need more support, are able to make informed choices about their future careers. We are proud to be supporting the DASH project and excited to see the project have a positive impact on the lives of local young people.”

Dorset Chamber’s Chief Executive, Ian Girling, said: “We were really impressed that the DASH Programme is designed to help schools meet the benchmarks set by Government, whilst giving an excellent programme for students to learn and improve on the key skills employers are looking for.  We are delighted with this partnership between Young Enterprise and Young Chamber and the collaborative nature of this project which reflects the wider careers landscape in Dorset.”

Employee volunteers for DASH do not need any prior experience working with students and all materials are provided, with all the masterclass sessions led by a Young Enterprise expert. Volunteers are welcome to participate in one or more sessions / one or more schools and will work with small groups of 5 or 6 students at a time. 

To find out more about volunteering for DASH or other Young Chamber initiatives, please email Hannah Cook  or Joan Senior

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