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Work awareness scheme opens door to Bradford businesses

Bradford businesses and a secondary school have launched an awareness week to inspire students making future career choices.

Bradford Work Inspiration Week will take place from 20th–24th May and is run by the team behind the E3 Bradford initiative, which aims to develop, inspire and empower young people to contribute to the regional economy.

The initiative follows a study which highlights a worrying disengagement between young people and the private sector. A Young Chamber UK survey of 1,600 11-19 year olds in Yorkshire and Humberside showed that more than 50% want jobs in the public sector including teaching, the military and nursing.

Supported by Bradford Council and the Bradford Chamber of Commerce, E3 Bradford wants to show youngsters that there are many worthwhile career opportunities in the private sector too. Businesses and schools have been asked to pledge their interest in advance of the May awareness week so that pupils can be matched with a visit to a suitable workplace.

Paul Mackie, chairman of Rex Procter and Partners and vice-president of Bradford Chamber of Commerce, said: “The north of England faces a very significant employment problem. We need to focus on productivity and skills as we are currently failing to retain sufficient graduates and apprentices.

“There is a mismatch between skills individuals have and those needed by employers. We are now seeking employers that are willing to open their doors to groups of students who want to see the workplace ‘in action’ to make more informed choices about the skills needed in the real workplace.”

First to sign the pledge to get involved in Work Awareness Week was the Samuel Lister Academy in Bingley, which hosted the launch with local firms Rance Booth Smith Architects and Incommunities.

Linda Hollings of Rance Booth Smith Architects said: “Work Inspiration Week is a fantastic initiative and we are more than happy to open our doors to what could potentially be the next generation of architects.”

Yasmin Dar of Incommunities said: “At Incommunities we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to fulfil their potential so an initiative that helps students understand and learn about the real world of work is in line with our vision and values.”

Other businesses supporting the scheme include Barclays Bank, BASF, Beaumont Robinson, Bradford District Care Trust, Buxton Pickles, Evolve, Gordons LLP, Midland Hotel, Rex Procter & Partners, Sainsbury’s, Lahore Café Bar, NG Bailey and Watson Buckle Accountants.

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