Form the Future welcomes the CPIER Final Report and three elements in particular:
- The focus on ‘inclusive growth”, particularly as our activity centres on Greater Cambridge, with its extreme inequalities. We want young people from all backgrounds to aspire to and attain employment in the growth sectors.
- The recognition that ‘human capital’ is critical to successful economy. Infrastructure is essential but roads, railroads and buildings are only useful to the people who will work here.
- That employers have a vital role to play in driving up skills. This is something that underpins our work completely and must continue if we’re to meet the growing demand for labour.
The CPIER Final Report, with its valuable intelligence on the regional economy, is essential reading for organisations like ours that work at the interface between education and industry. Our role is to provide a crystal ball for young people who are making decisions now for their future careers – what subjects to study, what skills to develop, which route to pursue – university, apprenticeship, or both.
Anne Bailey, Co-founder & Director of Form the Future CIC, said:
“We help them make informed decisions, not just on what they like but what they like that also offers a promising career. We are interested to learn more about devolution of education and skills as we strongly support the creation of an education and skills system that’s tailored for the needs of the region. Central government may have strong views on what children should learn but it’s only fair to children and young people that this reflects the local labour market. Is it right to offer students courses in vocational subjects if there are no job vacancies in that field? Or to teach computing languages that are no longer used? Or to offer an academic curriculum that fails to engage all students?”
Form the Future bridges the gap between schools and businesses, helping schools understand the what business needs and giving businesses a chance to attract and shape their future workforce. By engaging with schools, employers also get the chance to learn about and from their next generation employees.
Enabling students form all backgrounds to build human capital by meeting businesses and learn about careers, will enable inclusive growth reducing inequalities, at least when it comes to career choices and aspirations.
Examples of how employers are driving up skills are evident in programmes like Cambridge LaunchPad, initiated by Marshall Aerospace and Defence and now run by Form the Future with another 20 local employers. The aim is to inspire young people to consider careers in STEM, science, technology, engineering and maths, the sectors that CPIER has highlighted as significant in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough economy.
Brexit, if it does restrict access to labour from Europe, makes it even more urgent that we’re investing now to prepare young people with the skills needed by our growing industries.
The report comes at a good time. After a period where schools’ focus was on grades and grades alone, schools have new obligations to prepare young people for careers. The Gatsby Benchmarks provide a standard of what schools should be doing like providing students local labour market information (e.g. where are the jobs going to be in the region), providing personal careers guidance and plenty of contact with employers.
Form the Future’s central brokerage service that connects an employer with up to 50 schools and more than 20,000 students a year – providing tried and tested interventions that change students’ attitudes and provide essential skills is incredibly cost effective. To fund schools to achieve the same level of reach and impact would cost considerably more and lose the efficiencies that a one stop shop can provide. But while expectations on schools are increasing no additional funding has been made available to schools and Form the Future’s budgets have been cut. Fortunately, employers like Marshall of Cambridge, Arm and TTP have invested in Form the Future which helps and we hope the CPIER Final Report will encourage more employers to do the same.
Michaela Eschbach, Co-founder and Director of Form the Future, said:
“If industry believes in the power of education outreach to tackle the skills issue, the social divide, it is time to act now. Investment should be made in services like Form the Future, who have the know-how to link education and business, supporting business where they need it most – building their future talent pipeline and equipping them with the skills they need.”
If you would like to find out more about our work, including how we provide local businesses with opportunities to improve CSR and team morale, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.