Can you give an hour to inspire young people in the Black Country?

School students who have four or more employer interactions are five times less likely to become NEET (not in employment, education or training). They will earn 18 per cent more than young people that did not have those opportunities (Careers and Enterprise Company).

Could you help to boost young people’s prospects in the Black Country with your time, business experience and networks? Giving just an hour is possible, and could make a big difference.

At our November Sandwell Business Ambassadors meeting, we heard from representatives from the Black Country Skills Factory and Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC) about opportunities for schools engagement for employers in the Black Country. Finding ways to support and inspire Sandwell’s future workforce is one of our priorities as Ambassadors.

CEC is a community interest company that aims to inspire and prepare young people for the fast-changing world of work. It is funded through the Department of Education but remains independent of government.

Enterprise Adviser Network

CEC’s flagship programme is the Enterprise Adviser Network. Enterprise Advisers are high-calibre volunteers with strong links to business, who support schools with their business and enterprise strategies.As an Enterprise Adviser you would commit to work with a school’s senior leadership team for at least one academic year. During that time you would provide a valuable employer’s perspective and engage with other local businesses to focus the school’s efforts in business and enterprise.

Volunteering as an Enterprise Adviser is an excellent way to give back to the Black Country community, better understand the education sector and the challenges it faces, and inspire young people to achieve more in their future careers.

You can register your interest in becoming an Enterprise Adviser here.

Black Country Careers Hub: give an hour

Have you heard of the Black Country Careers Hub?

It’s a new scheme, launched in 2018, to improve careers education in the Black Country. It is based on a model successfully piloted in the north east of England.

Schools that engage with the Hub can access support and funding to help them achieve excellence in careers education (defined by the eight Gatsby benchmarks of Good Career Guidance).

Could you give an hour to support the work of the Black Country Careers Hub? You could offer an employer encounter to a Sandwell school, helping to increase local students’ exposure to the world of work.

If you’re interested contact Angela Moore on 01384 471139 or via

Opening Doors in the Black Country

Another way in which you can support careers education locally is by registering your business with Opening Doors in the Black Country.

This project allows you to give insight to local schools in how your organisation works and the range of available career opportunities with your team.

Your organisation would be featured in an online catalogue of companies willing to ‘open their doors’ to local students. Through it, schools would contact you directly to arrange visits.You can view the current online catalogue here.

You will find several Sandwell employers already on the list, including Howells Glazing, Thomas Dudley Group and Robinson Brothers.

Cornerstone Employers

A very significant way to engage with schools in the Black Country is by becoming one of CEC’s Cornerstone Employers.

Experienced at engaging with the education sector, Cornerstone Employers work with CEC’s regional teams, their own business contacts and the wider business community to ensure all young people attending the employer’s local secondary schools and colleges have the opportunity to prepare for, and feel inspired by, the world of work.

Liberty Group, where Sandwell Business Ambassador John Wood is a director, is one of Sandwell’s Cornerstone Employers. John said his company has a responsibility as a large Sandwell employer to ‘pass on’ insight and experience to the next generation.

“Companies must be open to schools and colleges about the opportunities available to students – as well as what they will need to do to secure good jobs,” said John.

“Today’s students are tomorrow’s workforce: we need to encourage and inspire them, not only for their own future achievements but to keep vital skills alive in the Black Country”.

You can apply for your organisation to become a Cornerstone Employer here.

The Ambassadors would love to hear from Sandwell organisations about their schools engagement activity. Do you think you might get involved? Are you already working with schools? Contact us with your updates and ideas. 


The Ambassadors are a collective of business people in the Sandwell area with the aim of supporting the Sandwell Business Community.

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