Serco staff will from this month be visiting schools and colleges up and down the country to share their work experiences and help inspire young people to think about their futures. The visits form part of the national Inspiring the Futures programme and Serco is one of the largest UK employers to sign up to the initiative.
Inspiring the Future has been set up by the charity Education and Employers Taskforce as a free service encouraging volunteers from a range of sectors and industries to visit secondary schools and colleges to talk to young people about their jobs, careers, apprenticeships and education routes.
These insights will acquaint students with the needs of today's employers and enable them to make realistic plans about their own futures, as well as offer inspiration, motivation, knowledge and potentially contacts in the world of work.
A report published by the Taskforce last month found a significant gap between young people's career aspirations and the realities of the current and projected future labour market. The Nothing in Common study, based on a survey of 11,000 young people aged between 13 and 16, highlighted the need for better careers advice.
Serco's involvement with Inspiring the Futures comes as the business marks its 25th anniversary as a listed company. Serco is encouraging all employees to use their skills, passions and talents to benefit both their local communities and support charities as part of its Serco25 celebrations.
Julia Warren, HR Director for Serco UK & Europe said, "Serco is proud to be playing a leading role in this vital programme, supporting young people with their career decisions. Alongside these visits by our staff, Serco runs an extensive apprenticeship programme which brought a lot of exciting new talent into the business. We currently have over 2,000 apprentices working across its UK businesses undertaking over 30 different types of apprenticeships. We want to build on this and offer further opportunities for young people to develop their skills and progress."
Nick Chambers, Director of the Education and Employers Taskforce charity added: "We are delighted that Serco is backing Inspiring the Future. It is vital that leading employers like Serco engage with schools and colleges because there is a the massive information gap between what young people know about the careers and opportunities open to them and the actual jobs that exist. Far too many young people have to make incredibly important decisions about their futures without enough access to good and reliable information. Inspiring the Future gives them a chance to talk to a wide range of people from different backgrounds doing a variety of jobs.
"The evidence is compelling: employer contact whilst at school or college makes a real difference to young people's later job prospects. Young people value it highly, employers demand it consistently and teachers want it pretty much universally. That is why over half of state secondary schools have signed up to www.inspiringthefuture.org in the first six months of its operation and why we are so pleased that Serco has agreed, as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations, to encourage its staff to volunteer to take part"