Significantly raising career aspirations and standards locally.
LoveLocalJobs.com launched their first online jobs board in 2010 to support both employers and job-seekers in Brighton and Hove. Since then, the focus has been all about LOCAL. The aim of creating award-winning regional job boards and employability programmes is to significantly raise the career aspirations of future generations. LoveLocalJobs.com works together with partners to ensure every young person has the tools, confidence and knowledge needed to step up and realise their full potential. LoveLocalJobs.com last month launched the Love Local Jobs Foundation in Sussex – a not-for-profit enterprise supported on the day by football legend Harry Redknapp. We asked the Foundation to tell us more about its vital work.
What does the Love Local Jobs Foundation do?
As well as advertising the region’s best job opportunities, we proactively link businesses with universities, colleges and schools. We work with the public sector, third sector and other amazing organisations to create local employment opportunities whilst also providing much-needed careers, information, advice and guidance to local businesses and job-seekers alike.
Why did you launch the Foundation?
After seeing first-hand how face-to-face collaborations can work to bridge the gap between education and employment, and receiving feedback from employers about the gaps they were experiencing in their talent pipelines, we decided to take this a step further and use our networks and relationships to build an infrastructure within which schools and businesses can work more closely together for mutual benefit. We created a well- received community engagement programme, Be the Change, in 2015.
Tell us more about Be the Change
Be the Change is an inspirational programme aimed at students who have become disengaged with school or lack confidence in their own abilities. They may struggle academically, but have real potential once engaged in an activity that captures their imagination.
The programme focusses on happiness, confidence, hope, relationships and employability. It encourages students to identify their personal barriers to success and helps them to find ways of overcoming them. Business representatives from local organisations are invited to be involved throughout the programme as mentors and guides. They are invited to act as role models and share their experiences and career stories. This is achieved over six separate interactions/activities.
They include three conferences, two one-to-one mentoring sessions and a workplace visit. The programme helps students to believe in themselves, develop 21st century skills and understand what positive changes they need to make in order to realise their aspirations. It helps them to focus on what qualities and qualifications are required to be successful in life and work. What are the core objectives of Be the Change?
● To increase business mentoring in schools
● To bridge the gap between education and employment
● To develop the life skills and employability skills of young people
● To create sustainable networking opportunities for young people
● To build stronger and more meaningful partnerships between local schools and businesses
● To encourage sharing of best practice for careers teaching between schools
● To strengthen the profile of local employers and related career opportunities and to engage and develop employee volunteers on both a personal and professional level
● To inspire young people to consider their route into employment whether that be through FE, HE or via an apprenticeship, traineeship or work experience placement
How many people are involved in the campaign?
Since its inception, Be the Change has worked with more than 90 organisations across the public and private sectors, 60 schools and over 1,600 students. The really great thing is that 100% of all participating business representatives, teachers and students surveyed said they would recommend Be the Change to others. Be the Change has been running in Bexhill and Leicester, sponsored by Hastings Direct. It has also been running in the Gatwick and Crawley area since 2016 and is now set to launching in Chichester and Brighton in the New Year.
What do those who take part say about it?
Be the Change is now in its fourth year with Bexhill Academy. The school has really started to see the effect the programme is having on the school. Trudy Hillman, Assistant Principal, explains: “We have been able to see first-hand the impact of the Be the Change programme on our students. It gives them the support and dedicated time to consider the opportunities they have to move to further education and employment whilst equipping them with the skills and confidence they will need on their journey.
“Our first cohort of students to complete the programme are now in Year 11 and colleges and education providers are telling us how these students are already making considered choices and focusing on their future. Students cite Be the Change as one the most significant aspects within their CEIAG education for being ready for this next step in their life.”
What about sponsors?
Gary Hoffman, Chair of Hastings Direct, sums up how the campaign has helped it make an impact: “I think Be the Change has been really good for Hastings Direct. It reinforces our business model and reflects how we do things. “We do things for our colleagues, and we do things for the community we serve and I think the programme has been really good for morale as well. It makes us feel better about ourselves, and that’s a good thing, and I believe it helps us to understand the extent of the impact we can have.”
How has Be the Change helped students?
A survey has found that 91% of participating students feel more confident as a result. More than 80% say are now considering higher education and 85% agree they now understand the skills and qualities employers are looking for.
Steph Hancock, Year 9 Leader at St Wilfrid’s Catholic School, said after a Be the Change event: “Wow! What an incredible day the students have had. Many of them were apprehensive about stepping out of their comfort zones but from the word ‘go’ they’ve been encouraged to put their trust in others and take a leap of faith.
“All have done something today which they never would have done without the ideas and motivation received at Be the Change. I can’t wait to see them blossom through the next five sessions.”
A student from the Gatwick/Crawley initiative says: “Be the Change really brought me out of my shell, my confidence was boosted so much that I made a speech at the end. It meant a lot to me and this programme has changed me & my life. Thank you so much.”
Another told the Sussex Business Times: “My Business Guide has taught me that I shouldn’t be afraid, failures create opportunities. I am not useless if I fail and there is just more learning. He has taught me to be happy with who I am and not try to please others by changing myself to fit their needs. I have learnt to be more outgoing. I can’t thank my Business Guide enough for what he has taught me.”
Tell us more about the launch of the Love Local Jobs Foundation in Sussex?
We launched the Foundation as a commitment to raise career aspirations for young people across Sussex. The aim is for them to benefit from the Foundation’s ground-breaking work, to help them realise their full potential. The Foundation was officially launched by Harry Redknapp with more than 120 local professionals present at a celebratory lunch.
The event raised over £10,000 from an auction. All the money raised will be used to take 20 local school students on a life-changing experience tooutdoor pursuit center, Dolawen, and enable LoveLocalJobs.com to run trips on an ongoing basis. We think this will help young people to significantly grow in confidence and realise their full potential. Dolawen is situated on a working farm in the Snowdonia National Park, North Wales. Dorothy Stringer School runs school trips to Dolawen. Each trip includes a wide range of activities including: Canoeing, Climbing, Wide Games, Gorge Walking, Problem Solving and Dry slope skiing.
“We launched the Foundation as a commitment to raise career aspirations for young people across Sussex. The aim is for them to benefit from the Foundation’s ground- breaking work”
What else is the Foundation planning?
The Foundation will also fund other programmes to give young people the tools, confidence or belief to realise their full potential. The LoveLocalJobs Foundation is set up to ensure our local next generation can thrive in a career they love, irrespective of any barriers that may be in their way at this time.
How can local businesses get involved?
The Foundation is looking for inspirational business professionals to speak to and inspire the next generation. If you would like more information, get in touch with the Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org. Gary Peters, of the LoveLocalJobs Foundation, said: “We were delighted to be joined by Harry Redknapp to launch our foundation. Harry gave me a break many moons ago that ended up leading to my first ever job. Nearly 23 years later he gladly gave up his time to launch our fantastic foundation and it really couldn’t have gone any better — he was incredible. “So many people leave school without the tools, confidence or belief to realise their full potential. The LoveLocalJobs Foundation is set up to ensure our local next generation can thrive in a career they love, irrespective of any barriers that may be in their way at this time. Anybody can work to be the best they can be; it’s our commitment to give them the tools, confidence and inspiration to do so.”
With the launch of the Foundation, LoveLocalJobs.com is committed to working in the community. The support of its partners and other local organisations as mentors, sponsors and ambassadors means that its work in the community has become an all- encompassing ‘family affair’.
Gary adds: “The Foundation’s work is at the the very heart of everything we do. We are passionate about making a tangible difference to young people.”
Find out more www.lovelocaljobs.com