RTC North calls for business mentors to join schools programme


Rebecca Davis
Feb 03, 2017

Janine Marshall and Michelle Rainbow
Pictured (L-R): Janine Marshall, RTC North and Michelle Rainbow, North East Local Enterprise Partnership

RTC North has been awarded a contract from the government-backed Careers and Enterprise Company to lead a powerful programme which supports young people across the North East and brings together industry and schools through mentoring.

The employer mentoring programme focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects, and builds on the STEM Ambassador contract which RTC North has been leading for 11 years in County Durham and Tees Valley. Since October 2016 RTC has been responsible for the entire North East region from Berwick to Marske.
RTC is now developing the STEM Ambassador Hub North East by bringing in business people to encourage and inspire students.  It has successfully signed up over 1200 ambassadors from local businesses who are all committed to working with primary and secondary schools and further education colleges to boost students’ interest and involvement with the working world.

For the employer mentoring programme RTC aims to add 200 more ambassadors, and is calling for businesspeople to take part and help to inspire the next generation.

Jamie Ollivere, Director of RTC North said: “Skills and talent retention are hugely important to the region’s economic health. Ambassadors will have a direct impact on the people who could make a difference to the North East’s future.

“We’re working closely with our partners to help drive growth through these major programmes which will involve many thousands of local students benefitting from business experience.
“The STEM ambassador hub and employer mentoring programmes put in place the framework to stimulate positive results for each person taking part, and offer students the aspiration and drive to gain the skills which will offer them a better future.

“Substantive outcomes will only happen when schools, colleges, businesses and our partners interlink cohesively. Then the influence of the STEM programmes and employer mentoring will add up to create a real regional impact.”

RTC is working with partners including the Science Learning Partnerships, North East Local Enterprise Partnership, Tees Valley Unlimited, Computing at Schools and Maths Hubs to drive forward the employer mentoring programme through its ambassadors working with students.

The breadth of the STEM ambassador Hub North East  community reflects every element of the STEM agenda ranging from IT to digital design, chemical engineering to advanced manufacturing and petrochemicals to renewable energy. Ambassadors range from apprentices to technicians, undergraduates to middle and senior managers crossing all ages, backgrounds, employers and disciplines. The network which RTC has built is diverse, accessible to young people and reflective of the region.

The development of schools-focused activity and first-hand experience of business with the employer mentoring programme offers better engagement with employers so that they can influence local skills provision.

Michelle Rainbow, skills for business manager at the North East LEP said: “It's clear that we need to think and act locally to create and strengthen a workforce with skills clearly linked to the North East economy and its key sectors.

“The employer mentoring and STEM ambassador hub programme led by RTC North places an emphasis on the role of employers in skills provision. With these major programmes we now have key players across the region working closely together to help to drive growth through the capabilities of highly skilled people, trained and working in the North East."
Claudia Harris, CEO of The Careers & Enterprise Company, said: “Too many young people across England are at risk of not achieving their full potential. This can have a lasting impact on their future and career later in life.

“Employer mentoring is a powerful way to address this issue by helping young people get inspired about the world of work.

“Our fund will work to unlock this inspiration by scaling up proven mentoring programmes to help boost social mobility and give young people great life changing experiences.”

Janine Marshall of RTC North is leading the North East employer mentoring programme. She said: “We want to bring more employers on board, and warmly invite local businesspeople to join this mentoring programme to help transform the futures of young people in their community.”

Anyone who would like to join the employer mentoring programme or become a STEM ambassador should contact Janine Marshall at RTC North. Tel 0191 516 4400. Email Janine.marshall@rtcnorth.co.uk.