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New Anglia Enterprise Adviser Network aims to inspire the next generation

PUBLISHED: 17:00 01 February 2016 | UPDATED: 17:01 01 February 2016

Mark Pendlington speaking at the launch of the New Anglia Enterprise Adviser Network at Thetford Academy.

Mark Pendlington speaking at the launch of the New Anglia Enterprise Adviser Network at Thetford Academy.

Copyright: Keith Mindham Photography

A new programme placing business leaders at the heart of the education system has been set up in East Anglia.

The launch, at Thetford Academy today, was attended by more than 60 head teachers, principals, assistant heads and vice principals, as well as students, local authority staff and senior business leaders.

The New Anglia Enterprise Adviser Network is part of a national programme which connects local business leaders with senior leaders in local secondary schools, academies and colleges, helping to motivate and inspire young peoples’ career aspirations, and to make a major impact on their work prospects.

Enterprise advisers will be volunteer leaders from the Suffolk and Norfolk business community. Their role will be to provide strategic consultancy and advice to schools and colleges to improve employer engagement and careers guidance provision to help bridge the gap between education and business, raise young peoples’ aspirations and enhance enterprise and employability skills.

Suffolk county councillor Gordon Jones, cabinet member for children’s services, education and skills, said: “We do need to increase the interaction between education and the business community, making sure Suffolk schoolchildren have the skill-set required to find work and prove themselves valuable assets to commercial companies.”

Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), who spoke at the launch event, said: “If we want to compete and win on a world stage we need to deliver a higher-skilled workforce for our growing economy and for the all the thousands of outstanding companies, innovators and entrepreneurs that are already based here and for the many more we want to attract.

“We can help do that by placing business leaders at the heart of the education system, to inspire young minds when they are seeking out their future paths and looking to match their talents and aspirations with a high value and rewarding career.”

Speakers at the launch event also included Mary Tyler, programme director at the Careers and Enterprise Company, business leaders Richard Bridgman of Warren Services and Clive Edmonds of Scienta Consulting and students from Thomas Gainsborough School, near Sudbury, and Thetford Academy, who are learning about careers and enterprise through a range of activities.

The network has been created with support from the national Careers and Enterprise Company and New Anglia LEP, working through its partners in Norfolk and Suffolk county councils to deliver the national programme in East Anglia.

The network is supported by five enterprise co-ordinators who will provide a professional service including training, matching enterprise advisers to schools and colleges and ongoing support.

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