Young Chamber Seeks Business Sponsors to Back Programme’s Dorset-Wide Focus

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Dorset Chamber’s Young Chamber programme which helped c.16,000 students with careers and employability skills support last academic year, is seeking sponsors to back the successful programme as it looks to its fifth year.

The move is a response to a Dorset-wide need for business engagement with schools in line with Government policy; secondary schools must provide a careers programme for all students Year 7 to Year 13 each year – a step change from when Young Chamber launched in 2016.

Dorset Chamber Chief Executive, Ian Girling, explains: “When Young Chamber launched, schools paid to become members giving them the support of the Young Chamber Coordinator plus all the benefits of Dorset Chamber membership.  This developed as members of the business community interested in supporting the careers and employability skills agenda in schools stepped forward to sponsor schools’ memberships. 

“With the introduction of careers programmes as an Ofsted requirement in schools and the launch of the Dorset Careers Hub last year, we are strategically aligning Young Chamber with the Government’s programme for careers in schools, in particular where support from the business community plays an integral role.

Young Chamber will build on the success of its programme, continuing to create, broaden and strengthen business engagement in schools for the long term through Dorset Chamber’s extensive network of business connections.  It will also work even more closely with other members of the Collaboration for Careers Dorset*, a collective group of careers support organisations in Dorset.

From 1 April 2020, school-specific sponsorship of Young Chamber will cease, replaced by sponsorship of the programme.  This will release Young Chamber to work with even more schools, and specifically to help where employability skills and careers support is needed most, including working in disadvantaged areas and with organisations supporting young people with Special Educational Needs.

Bournemouth University, sponsor of the Young Chamber programme since its launch has again committed its support as a headline sponsor.  Meanwhile, the current school sponsors see supporting the new model as an obvious choice, as it will support even more students.

Ian Jones, Head of External Engagement at Bournemouth University, said: “We have supported the work of Young Chamber since its launch in 2016, but this year in particular we have seen the true potential of the programme in terms of mobilising the 700+ strong Dorset Chamber membership to meet the careers and employability needs of schools in relation to Government requirements.

“We are very fortunate that Dorset Chamber places value on having a dedicated resource solely for this purpose – not all chambers have a Young Chamber Coordinator.  The progress the programme has made, particularly over the last academic year, shows its ability to create and support long term relationships between schools and employers and to think creatively in its delivery. Our Schools Liaison Team is already working with Young Chamber on more projects this academic year to support Dorset LEP’s Careers Hub in the west of the county.  I very much look forward to following their progress.

 

Organisations wishing to find out more about supporting Young Chamber through sponsorship and becoming involved with the programme can find out more by emailing joan.senior@dcci.co.uk

*C4DC comprises BCP Council; Careers & Enterprise Company; Dorset Council; Dorset LEP (Careers Hub); JP Morgan (sponsor of the Young Enterprise DASH Employability Programme); Young Apprenticeship Ambassador Network; Young Chamber and Young Enterprise.