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Students and local businesses network to help close skills gap

Two people talking over a desk

Hartsdown Academy welcomed local business owners into their school this June for a ‘Skills 30:30’ event hosted by FSB and the Careers Enterprise Company.

Paul Andrews, CEO of Jobs in Kent and FSB Kent Skills Lead said, “A third of small businesses looking to recruit have faced skills shortages. Bosses tell us that they can’t find the right staff, or when that when try to recruit young people they may have the right certificates but the wrong attitude and skills.

“These events bring employers face-to-face with young people, giving them the chance to share their advice and hear about students’ aspirations. We talk about potential jobs and how the world of work is changing. The overall results are really positive – we’re getting work experience offers, mentorships and building strong links between schools and businesses.”

FSB began Skills 30:30 workshops two years ago, when a local business owner wanted to meet potential apprentices. Since then more than 600 businesses and students have taken part and the workshops are being taken up by schools across Kent. The two-hour event format is a one hour session for businesses and at the same time, but in a separate classroom, a workshop for students. This is then followed one hour of facilitated speed networking, where students get to talk personally to 30 local business owners.

Kate Doyle, Director FuelBox UK led a workshop with students and said; “We share more on social media than we do with each other and have many connections online, but we are less connected. It was a fantastic event at Hartsdown Academy: face-to-face conversations, sharing, learning and building networks for the future.”

Business owner Russel Goldsmith of Trace Creative, Margate, took part as he is keen to recruit locally and meet potential employees. “It was a great event, amazing to hear the students aspirations and help give them advice and direction.”

Company owners are invited to participate in future FSB Skills 30:30 events which are:

29 June and 5 September, Wilmington Academy, Dartford

21 September, Wrotham School, Sevenoaks

For further details, contact Alison Parmar, Development Manager 07917 628 904 alison.parmar@fsb.org.uk