Launch of Business Network to champion enterprise in education

Links between business and education in Leeds City Region have today been strengthened by the launch of the LEP's Enterprise Adviser programme.

Having successfully completed the government's Enterprise Adviser pilot, one of only five in the country, the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (the LEP) will now join the national roll-out of the programme, led by the government's Careers and Enterprise Company.

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (the LEP) said: “In our most recent business survey, 74% of businesses reported the need to improve skills in their workforce and other research shows that only 15% of employers offer any kind of work inspiration activity.

“This Enterprise Adviser programme aims to address some of those skills challenges and I am pleased so many of our school and business leaders have joined us at this event, to make sure young people are not only informed and enthused about meaningful career opportunities but also encouraged and empowered to shape their own future.”

Councillor Peter Box, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Wakefield Council said: “Our ambition is to build a skilled and flexible workforce for the future and by building enterprise and work ready skills into education, and supporting young people to make informed career choices, we take a step closer to achieving this.

“Our programme is running across the Leeds City Region and we are engaging with businesses from a range of sectors, particularly those that can offer the STEM opportunities that are critical to the future workforce.”

As a result of the pilot programme, the LEP successfully recruited over 100 volunteer business leaders to become Enterprise Advisers, working with a third of all schools in the region and supporting 3,500 pupils to gain work place skills and experience. By joining the national rollout, the LEP will now aim to directly engage with all 170 schools in the City Region and triple the number of business leaders involved in the programme.

Working with senior leaders in business, known as "Enterprise Advisers," the programme aims to create and strengthen links between business and education and better equip young people with the core skills needed to join the workforce. The role of the Enterprise Adviser is to work with local school leaders at the highest level to help create, influence and implement careers and enterprise strategies for our City Region's young people.

An event to mark the launch of the LEP's Enterprise Adviser programme and highlight successes from the pilot, is today being held at The Hepworth Wakefield. Schools and businesses, particularly those facing skills challenges, are being encouraged to pledge their support and join the programme.

Claudia Harris, CEO of The Careers and Enterprise Company comments: “We are delighted to be working with the Leeds City Region LEP to launch the Enterprise Adviser network. Our aim is to build on the excellent work already taking place in the region and the commitment of the local business community to extend the careers and enterprise provision for young people. We will connect senior business volunteers to schools and colleges to increase the number of encounters young people have with employers before leaving education as we know this has a significant positive impact. Research from the EET shows that young people who have multiple encounters with business while at school are significantly less likely to be NEET and earn, on average, 18% more than peers who haven’t. By simplifying the process for employers, schools and colleges to work together through the Enterprise Adviser network we can ensure that young people in the region are inspired, informed and have a plan to enter employment successfully."

The nationwide programme was created by The Careers and Enterprise Company to link senior business volunteers with individual education providers to build employer engagement plans. This network is being co-led through the Leeds City Region LEP to unite local education providers and employers. The network of volunteers is being supported by full time Enterprise Coordinators who will work with a cluster of schools and colleges to link them to the very best initiatives, such as work experience and speaker programmes. The aim of the network is to make it simpler for schools and employers to work together.

The LEP is recruiting new volunteer Enterprise Advisers from across the Leeds City Region who are passionate about supporting young people to learn new skills and create a prosperous future. For business leaders interested in supporting and developing talent in young people by sharing knowledge of entrepreneurship and working in a business environment, contact the LEP today to find out more or visit