Enterprise Advisers help bridge the gap between the world of work and education, volunteering their time to help develop their school’s careers strategy and align careers provision in schools with local economic needs.
Enterprise Advisers are business professionals from any industry, sector or professional background who are matched with a local school to boost awareness of local career opportunities and pathways, including apprenticeships and vocational routes, and increase career-related activity opportunities for young people in their school.
In our D2N2 Careers Hub we have more than 160 Enterprise Advisers, one of which is Amanda Stevenson-Bate, Talent Development Manager at Alstom, whose work we are shining a spotlight on in this blog.
Amanda Stevenson-Bate tells us her story
“My journey as an Enterprise Adviser began when I discovered the role through a colleague. As a STEM Ambassador, I had experience in mentoring young people and was intrigued by the prospect of working alongside senior leadership teams in schools.
After visiting Derby Moor Spencer Academy and meeting the school’s Careers Leader Andrew Kilgour in 2019, I saw an exciting opportunity for personal development and seized the opportunity to do more strategic outreach.
Adapting the strategy
Despite starting my role during the pandemic, I quickly built a productive ‘virtual’ relationship with Andrew. Using our shared knowledge of our own sectors, we looked to alter the school’s Careers Strategy to suit the new ‘virtual’ educational landscape. The key challenge was preparing students for the future, when traditional face-to-face work experience seemed impossible.
We developed a new programme that set realistic expectations of a modern workplace, using the twelve competencies that we at Alstom seek in our prospective employees as the foundation for change. I also drew from my background in conducting apprentice and graduate assessment centres to launch virtual work experience sessions – inviting some of my colleagues to speak about the diversity of roles that contribute to a high performing manufacturing organisation.
As someone who’s passionate about breaking gender stereotypes, I was also keen to highlight the various roles held by women within the engineering industry and promote inclusivity, by actively expanding the focus of careers education beyond gender biases – inspiring young people to pursue their aspirations without limitations.
I’ve been heavily involved with the organisation of Derby Moor’s interactive Inspiration Day, where multiple teams of young people are assigned simulated roles in a mini organisation and asked to complete a project. I arranged for colleagues from Alstom to mix with teachers in the observation process, this helped the young people to gain the experience of meeting and interacting with a range of professionals in their project.
We specifically designed these events for year 8 students, helping to shape perspectives on employment from early on in their time at secondary school. The success of Derby Moor’s Inspiration Day has piqued the interest of my colleagues in the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership Cornerstone Employer network; these initiatives have inspired other Cornerstone Employers to create their own versions of the event.
Integrating employability across the school
Building on these successes, I worked on embedding professional competencies into the wider curriculum. By aligning lessons with relevant employability skills, each department is able to demonstrate the vocational application of the core skills the young people learn in the classroom. I’ve worked closely with Andrew to gain the support of faculty heads, ensuring a cohesive approach has been taken on a school-wide level.
Deeper integration is also being considered in the way that teachers evaluate and observe their classes at Derby Moor. I’ve given feedback to the IT department on how to best include employability into the way the staff present their student reports, highlighting classroom behaviours that either do – or do not – transfer positively into the workplace. With parents receiving the reports, all stakeholders are engaged, contributing to the changing perception of careers education and fostering a holistic approach to the development of young people.
A chance to develop
In my experience, a successful Enterprise Adviser needs to build a strong working relationship with a Careers Leader by prioritising communication, planning and mutual advice. Fostering a culture of reciprocal feedback goes a long way towards keeping every project on track and ensuring both parties are happy with the progress.
By embracing a long-term view and pursuing an enduring impact on students’ employability skills, I’ve tried to create a Careers Strategy at Derby Moor where young people are equipped to excel – whichever path they choose.”
Andrew Kilgour, Careers Leader, Derby Moor Spencer Academy said:
“We’ve been on an inspirational journey with our Enterprise Adviser, Amanda. She has been a revelation and used her experience as a Learning and Development Manager at Alstom to help us transform how we develop employability skills and behaviours in our young people. They now map against the needs of industry. We wouldn’t be in this position without Amanda’s valuable support.”
Find about more about our Careers Hub and becoming an Enterprise Adviser
Find out more about becoming a Cornerstone Employer
For media enquiries, contact:
Head of External Affairs, D2N2 LEP