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12 May 2021

Dorset LEP successfully delivers Virtual Work Experience pilot

Dorset LEP successfully delivers Virtual Work Experience pilot

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) pilot Virtual Work Experience Insight Day was successfully delivered on Tuesday 27 April with The Sir John Colfox Academy, Bridport. The pilot event was a pre-cursor to the much larger programme which will see over 2000 students across Dorset take part in Virtual Insight Days on Tuesday 15 and Tuesday 29 June.

The Virtual Work Experience scheme is hosted by Dorset Careers Hub, which is led by Dorset LEP in partnership with BCP Council and Dorset Council, and brings employers, schools and colleges together to transform careers education. 

The Virtual Work Experience scheme, in partnership with Speakers for Schools, has been designed to provide young people across Dorset with virtual access to valuable work experience and workplace encounters, in line with The Gatsby Benchmarks for effective careers guidance.

140 students from The Sir John Colfox Academy, Bridport took part in the pilot event and worked with five different employers throughout the Virtual Insight Day, including Magna Housing, Workers’ Educational Association, Shrinkwrap Machinery Co, the Royal Air Force and The Samee Project. 

Rebecca Davies, Head of Enterprise, Skills and Industry at Dorset LEP, said: “Despite the challenges and limitations of COVID-19, we are ensuring that Dorset students receive valuable work experience opportunities this year. We are pleased that the pilot Virtual Work Experience Insight Day was such a success and look forward to supporting a further 2000 students in June.”

Graham Farrow, Head of Year 11 and Careers Leader at The Sir John Colfox Academy, Bridport said: ‘I dropped into several of the placements throughout the day and was impressed with the level of engagement and the range of tasks the students were set. Feedback from students and parents so far has been great.’

Jason Elsom, Chief Executive Officer, Speakers for Schools, said: “We are delighted to see Dorset Local Enterprise and leading employers in Dorset working with Speakers for Schools and joining our mission to end educational inequality. We hope more employers join our virtual work experience programme and more schools sign up to broaden the horizons of young people across the UK.”

Sarah Cartlidge, Colleague Development Specialist, Magna Housing said: “We haven’t been able to attend careers fairs or provide work experience placements over the last year. The virtual event was a great way to still be able to help local schools and their students gather information about their career options and gain some experience.

“30 students joined colleagues from our HR, IT, digital architecture and communication and marketing teams in online classroom sessions providing a wealth of different activities and tasks for the students to get involved with. It was a great event to be part of and helped us to gain insight and knowledge about the future generation of colleagues whilst supporting young people within our community.”

To find out how your business could support future work experience schemes for Dorset students, please email dorsetlep@bournemouth.ac.uk.

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