The Cornwall & IOS Careers 2023 annual Careers Summit has been hailed as the most successful to date.
The event, held at the Venton Conference Centre in Summercourt on January 18, saw over 70 delegates attend as well as a number of students and ambassadors from Cornish secondary schools.
The Careers Hub was launched four years ago, with the mission to change the narrative when it comes to living, working and building a future in Cornwall.
The day welcomed senior leaders in Cornwall secondary schools, enterprise advisers, colleges, stakeholders and training advisors and signalled the first time since the pandemic that this network has come together.
Addressing the room, Careers Hub lead Caroline Childs noted the importance of the day. She said: “Right now, Careers is being talked about by our national leaders. It’s up front and centre in the political agenda.”
“Careers must meet the needs of each and every person to be most effective – and that’s something we in Cornwall will be leaders on, and that’s what today is about.”
The summit was an opportunity for education and business leaders from across Cornwall to discuss the importance of careers for young people.
Keynotes included Sam Lilley, Early Years Talent Coordinator with leading Cornish retailer Seasalt, Viki Carpenter from Access Cornwall and Budehaven Secondary School Headteacher Dominic Wilkes, among others.
The topic of the day was ‘Why Careers is Important for everyone’ and focussed on discussing the importance of getting career education right in schools and colleges.
Delegates shared research and resources, discussing what’s happening today in Careers education across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. A workshop round – known as the Lightening Talks – was a highlight, seeing keynotes speaking to small groups, sharing real life experience and plans.
Clare Trice, successful businesswoman, enterprise advisor and parent, was one of these speakers with a lot to bring to the table. She said: “This was a hugely valuable opportunity for those with voices to discuss Careers provision in Cornwall as it is today, and as it can be going forward.
“I believe it’s particularly pertinent to think of those students who missed out on careers support in 2020 and how as a collective of experts we can and will do better by them.”
The day was also about celebrating the stories of those affected most by careers advice in Cornwall: young people.
Students Jake Gregor and Luke Coucher, from Pool Academy, and Aaliyah Minhas and Jasmin Watson from Helston Community College, spoke to the room about their experiences, sharing valuable insight.
One thing that stood out to them was a statistic: 70% of young people in Cornwall believe they need to leave the county to start positive careers.
Luke, who is in Year 11 at Pool Academy, thinks there should be more emphasis put on relationships with local businesses.
He said of his experience: “I would never have expected so many businesses to be at an event like this – so more of this, and bigger, is what’s needed.”
“These events can make young people aware of what not only exists here in Cornwall – because you want young people to stay in Cornwall – but also what opportunities there are to work internationally from this county.”
Liam Pidwell has been out of education for four years and spoke of the vast improvements he’s seen in careers since he was at school. He has since been part of Cornwall Council’s Annual Conversation, which inspired his attendance at this event.
Liam says it’s about starting conversations and providing the best information possible: “My experience of careers advice was quite negative so it’s great to hear that’s not what’s happening now – but there’s lots more we can do to keep it going.”
The event concluded with a networking opportunity and notes on how to go forward with positive steps.
The Careers Hub team also announced some great news; Cornwall is one of four areas of the UK chosen to work with primary schools – 75 in total – to work with children, parents and teachers to challenge stereotypes and begin the careers conversation early.
Cllr Barbara Ellenbroek, portfolio holder for children and families at Cornwall Council, said: “I’m delighted that the Careers Summit proved such a success and that young people played such a prominent role in it.
“It is one of our priorities to make Cornwall a brilliant place for children and young people to grow up, and ensuring they have access to top quality careers advice and opportunities plays an important role in this
“It is also great news – and an indication of the great work already going on in Cornwall – that we have been chosen as one of the areas to work with primary schools to start talking about career options at an early stage. The more children we can inspire to start thinking about their futures the better.”
Caroline concluded: “Careers is part of our county’s wellbeing agenda, which makes it a priority for our business and education leaders. It’s essential for the personal and professional growth of our young adults.”
“We are so thankful to each and every one of our keynotes for giving up their time and sharing their experiences with the room. It was inspiring to see so many passionate and experienced leaders putting young people at the forefront of their conversations.
“And thank you most importantly to our young ambassadors, who spoke so honestly about what we are doing well and what we can do better. We look forward to the great things to come.”
Press release issued on January 25, 2023.