One thousand five hundred young people in Leicestershire will benefit from an innovative careers package delivered straight to their homes.
In collaboration with partners from across the region, the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) has developed and launched Unbox Your Future (UBYF) to help young people across Leicester and Leicestershire think about their future careers.
The first of its kind, UBYF is a curated package of careers items designed to help a young person research career pathways including those in sectors they may not have thought about. Items in the box range from a cardboard VR headset for campus tours, to tea bags to help strike up a careers conversation with a friend, parent or carer. There are also lots of useful guides on local and national programmes to inspire!
UBYF is an innovative way of reaching out to some of the most disadvantaged young people, many of whom find themselves having to re-think their future career path due to the impact of COVID-19 on both education and industry.
Working with partners has meant that the LLEP been able to target those who would most benefit from one of the boxes. They are being targeted particularly at young people aged 16-18 who are not in education employment or training (NEET) and may feel disconnected or isolated.
Other parters have provided expertise or pledged time and resources, whilst the Careers and Enterprise Company, which works closely with the LLEP on its Enterprise Adviser Network and Careers Hub programmes, has helped fund the project.
One of the key items in the box is a personalised VIP careers voucher. This will allow a young person to dial a dedicated number and speak to a qualified careers advisor. They can then discuss their aspirations and options, which could range from from apprenticeships to A-levels, training to university, or even how to set up their own business!
Dr. Nik Kotecha OBE is CEO of Morningside Pharmaceuticals and a member of the LLEP Board of Directors. He said:
“We know that right now, young people face some real challenges and fears about what the future holds for them. UBYF is designed so that they can take their time, use some of the items in the box to help stimulate some ideas and decide how they can take that next step through direct action.
“There are a lot of fantastic online opportunities being developed for young people but we know that not everyone has access to the internet. UBYF bridges that divide by providing offline resources and signposting to other sources of advice and guidance and opportunity to talk to a real person.”
John Yarham, Interim CEO of The Careers & Enterprise Company said:
“In such a profoundly challenging environment, beset by the consequences of Covid-19, young people’s need for careers support is more acute than ever. It is vitally important for us all to step up the levels of support and guidance available, to help them make the informed choices that can positively influence their futures.
“We’re pleased to be funding this community level response which links powerfully with regional recovery plans and local pathways into work. These provide the opportunity to speak directly to young people about their next steps into education, employment or training and the support available.
“We must support our young generation as part of the broader recovery efforts to avoid long-lasting damage to their prospects.”
The LLEP is testing a number of concepts via the UBYF scheme, including the use of the voucher to help connect with some of the region’s most disengaged young people. The LLEP’s aim is to let them know that they are not alone, and to inspire them about new and emerging opportunities in Leicester and Leicestershire’s priority sectors. These include low carbon industries; space research and development; and advanced manufacturing.
The LLEP would like to acknowledge its partners that have been involved in bringing the UBYF scheme to fruition: Leicestershire County Council, Leicester City Council, LEBC, Pathways Uni Connect Hub, DWP, Employment Hub, Leicestershire Cares, National Citizenship Service, STEM Learning, Connexions, East Midlands Chamber and The Prince’s Trust.
The LLEP would also like to thank Leicester Racecourse for allowing it to use its conference centre to collate the boxes in a socially distanced environment in line with government COVID-safe working guidance.
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