2. Education to Industry - Adur Industry First, West Sussex
Adur's Education to Industry is developing a co-ordinated programme to make teachers, pupils and parents more aware of the needs of local industry, particularly the manufacturing sector. It also seeks to remove any stigma that may be attached to manufacturing in the area.
The project does this through three strands of activity:
- The World of Work Project involves pupils, their parents and their teachers in a range of activities designed to raise their awareness of manufacturing.
- Lower secondary school pupils are targeted by the Industrial Awareness Project, which provides a progression from the introduction to manufacturing provided by the first project to a broader and more informed understanding of the sector.
- The Careers and Work Experience Enhancement Programme provides quality work experience for 15 year olds in key companies requiring skilled young people.
Background - Problems to be Tackled
- The strong links which have been developed with Adur Economic Partnership have been essential to the project's progress. In particular, many of the partners are leading employers who are contributing in different ways to project activities.
- Another key element has been the involvement of the West Sussex Education Business Partnership, who initiated the project and now manages it. Of particular value has been its prior experience of running similar projects.
- Considerable recent progress has been made following the appointment of an enthusiastic and dynamic co-ordinator who, as the former deputy head of one of the participating secondary schools, has excellent local knowledge. The decision to replace the previous post with one dedicated exclusively to Education to Industry has been particularly effective in expediting the project.
- The interest in and commitment to the project from schools and businesses has ensured that its momentum is being sustained. The links that are being forged are also providing the basis for future activities.
- The support and guidance provided by the SRB manager are ensuring that the project is meeting its outputs and obligations. His facilitation of links between this and the other projects has also been pivotal.
In recent years Adur has experienced a decline in its manufacturing base, most significantly with the closure of Link Miles, one of the biggest local employers, with a loss of 200 jobs. These factors contribute to the baseline position established by the Adur Economic Partnership - which includes 59 private sector companies, as well as major public sector organisations - in 1995:
- Though the area's manufacturing firms account for 26% of all employment, they provide just 12% of job vacancies per annum.
- Males seeking craft vacancies account for half of all Adur's unemployed.
These problems were compounded by a skills shortage that exists in the region. In particular there was a shortage of IT skills, especially in the fields of CAD and CAM: these skills are of central importance to modern manufacturing companies. This was caused in part by the failure of local schools to train their pupils for industry, for a number of reasons:
How the Project was Developed
- Local schools were unaware of the needs of the local economy.
- Pupils, teachers and parents generally had a poor image of the manufacturing sector.
- As a consequence of these, there were few work experience placements in the manufacturing sector, and little information on the careers it offers.
- At the same time, local companies had limited information about the changes and pressures affecting the education sector.
The Education to Industry project is part of the area's SRB scheme, which was set up by the Adur Economic Partnership to try to check the decline in local manufacturing. With a rationale provided by the baseline set out above, one of the scheme's objectives is 'to develop a co-ordinated education, training and employment action programme' - 'from education to industry'. This provides the impetus for this project.
West Sussex Education Business Partnership, who had successfully managed and gained expertise on a similar project in the Bognor Regis SRB scheme, initiated the project. Adur District Council, four companies from the private sector, and six schools were also involved in developing the bid.
The project has three main elements:
- The World of Work Project
This project is for primary schools, and involves pupils and parents in a range of activities designed to raise their awareness of manufacturing industry.
As part of the programme, teachers from each participating primary school are placed in a local manufacturing company. In collaboration with company personnel, they design a student activity linked to the curriculum. For example, one activity has involved Year 6 pupils making electrically powered buggies as part of their Design Technology work. This project has been support by three local companies: Pilgrim Kit Cars, Ricardo, and BOC Edwards.
Another activity, World of Work Week, involved pupils and their parents in a range of activities that included an exhibition in the local shopping centre. The aim is to generate a greater awareness of Adur Industry, promote local companies and provide high quality learning experiences for pupils.
- The Industrial Awareness Project
This project targets lower secondary school pupils, and is designed to raise awareness of Adur industry and the skills needed by employees. It provides a progression from the taste of manufacturing industry provided by the first project, World of Work, into a broader and more informed understanding of developments, particularly those undertaken by the SRB.
The project focuses on young people as citizens and as potential producers and consumers in Adur District. Participants discuss environmental, economic and industrial considerations in the area. The emphasis is on developing an awareness of the need for industry to support the economy. Activities are focused on the Port of Shoreham, the Lancing Industrial Estate, the gateway corridor and the Fishersgate community.
As part of the project, teachers have attended a series of workshops linked to the AEP and the District Council to raise their awareness of local needs and developments. They were then placed in local companies including Ricardo, Cego and BOC Edwards where they developed curriculum materials which energised the history curriculum with modern examples of the manufacturing process. These materials are now being used with students.
- The Careers and Work Experience Enhancement Programme
This programme provides quality work experience for 15 year-olds in key companies requiring skilled young people. It is offered in Adur's two secondary schools and enhances their existing careers programme by providing information on skills shortages in Adur and improved publicity for local industry. It also requires teaching materials and resources to be developed to focus attention more appropriately on the manufacturing sector.
Activities have included:
- work experience for all students in years 10 or 11 in local companies;
- the use of drama to promote the role of technology in the workplace, followed by a series of workshops;
- a careers convention in one school which was supported by local and national companies and attended by all 1,740 students at the school and
- a series of twilight training sessions to raise the profile and quantity of work experience at the other school.
The total funding required by the project over its lifetime is £426,000, of which £110,000 is furnished by the SRB. The public sector provides £189,000, and the remaining £127,000 comes from the private sector.
Outcomes and Achievements
- The scheme has been highly effective in increasing the focus on science and technology in schools in the local area. In the primary school activity, the link to economic needs has been implicit, but as pupils get older - and schemes become more focused on workplace activities - the link is made more explicit.
- There has been significantly increased education business link activity in all participating schools, and participating companies have a greater awareness of the possibilities and constraints within the curriculum.
- The locally defined and developed programmes are enabling children to understand more about local industry, with the ultimate objective of preparing them for work. This enhanced learning programme builds on their knowledge and understanding through their primary and secondary school years, culminating in practical work experience. Other projects within the scheme provide skills training offering a further route into employment.
- There is also added value in the benefits which have extended beyond school children, the main target group. This is evident:
- in the project activities that involve pupils' families, particularly at primary level;
- in the understanding of local industry that teachers are gaining - and able to extend to the classroom - through their business placements;
- in the participation of personnel from local companies in developing curriculum materials and assisting in class-based projects.
- Through its efforts to make young people more aware of the local economic infrastructure and the changes that are being facilitated through regeneration, the project is integrally linked to the Adur SRB scheme. Economic prosperity depends on the availability of appropriate skills: the project represents a commitment to preparing local people for the job opportunities of the future.
Colin Hunt, SRB Programme Manager
Tel: 01273 455 566 ext 3271
Fax: 01273 454 847