I have a lot of sympathy for young people entering the workforce today.
Competition for every vacancy is fierce and trying to discern a clear career path from the maze of potential routes must be incredibly challenging.
Should I go to university and accept the debt that comes with it? Should I try to find a job but risk being unemployed if nothing comes up? Is an apprenticeship right for me?
These and other questions must fill the minds of school leavers as they consider their futures.
And what about the adults? How are they to know what to do for the best as they consider changing career or advancing in their current role?
As a member of the Employment and Skills Board leading on the Humber Careers Hub, I believe that young people and adults alike can only answer these questions with the help of high quality information, advice and guidance.
With this at the forefront of our minds, we are this week launching three linked initiatives that will help the Humber LEP achieve one of its key ambitions: a skilled and productive workforce that meets the needs of business.
Already bolstered by strong buy-in nationally, including talks with Ofsted on how they can be supported in schools, the initiatives will be formally launched on October 24 at the Village Hotel in Hull.
The event will be opened by Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart, chairman of the Education Select Committee and a champion of the work being led by the Humber LEP.
It will see the launch of a new CEIAG (careers education, information, advice and guidance) Gold Standard for schools, colleges and other education providers which support young people and adults, as well as a web portal to direct anyone looking for courses and careers in the Humber.
Mr Stuart and I are agreed that careers guidance must have greater prominence if we are to support young people in making decisions about their futures.
He said recently: “As the economy continues to recover, young people need to have an informed understanding of where job opportunities are to be found, how much they pay, and the qualifications they need in order to secure those opportunities.
“This means we have to take both the quality and quantity of careers advice in schools and colleges much more seriously.”
The Gold Standard has been designed through consultation with local schools, colleges and employers to set a robust and challenging assessment framework to ensure that high quality, impartial and current information is provided to support people’s progression to further study or into employment.
It will help drive and inspire future generations to enable them to access the many career opportunities that the Humber provides will continue to provide in the future.
The programme builds on the work of the Skills Commission’s report ‘Lifting the Lid’ from which Humber LEP has recognised that there is a need to ensure we provide consistently excellent information, advice and guidance.
To complement the Gold Standard, the LEP and the four Local Authorities of Hull, East Riding, North and North East Lincolnshire have designed the Humber careers portal ’Bridging the Gap’.
It builds on the region’s existing 14-19 online prospectuses: >log on | move on > (for Hull and East Riding), Lincs2 (North East Lincolnshire) and Lincs4U (North Lincolnshire).
Bridging the Gap will enable young people, adults and employers to access the range of education and training opportunities within the region from this central hub.
To underpin the two projects the LEP is also coordinating a shared platform for labour market intelligence, which will demonstrate the real job opportunities available to help assist residents in making informed choices about what to study in order to take up job opportunities in the region.
By working closely with employers who are providing data to populate these strands we are certain that people will feel inspired to achieve to their potential at school, college and university or to advance in their current job role.
Of course, all these developments will also assist in creating economic growth in the Humber by providing a workforce with the skills that match the needs of employers.
Very few places are left but you can book your place at the event on the Eventbrite page: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/going-for-gold-inspiring-careers-in-the-humber-tickets-13044563641.