Bid to keep work experience alive

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Key figures from the business community are rallying round to keep pioneering work experience and entrepreneurs initiatives going, following the collapse of Business & Education South Yorkshire.

The not for profit organisation has made a major contribution to linking business with local schools and colleges and introducing children to the world of work.

Two years ago, it was forced to halve staffing levels after the Government axed funding and abolished the requirement for schools to send pupils on work experience programmes.

Many similar organisations closed, but B&ESY survived by diversifying, playing a leading role in supporting business-led initiatives to ensure pupils are ‘work ready’ like the Cutlers’ Curriculum and Workwise. However, increased competition, cuts in public sector budgets and the development of alternative local authority run programmes have combined to make B&ESY unviable.

B&ESY staff running Enterprise Coaching and Entrepreneur Exchange programmes, which provide support, training and mentoring for people starting their own businesses have transferred to Sheffield Chamber of Commerce.

Meanwhile, local entrepreneur David Grey has provided facilities at the head office of his OSL group of engineering companies, where a handful of former B&ESY staff including chief executive, Jackie Freeborn and business development manager John Barber are working voluntarily to ensure other projects continue.

Mr Barber praised Mr Grey, former Sheffield MP and Industry Minister Richard Caborn and others for their support. “We’ve had some fantastic support from David Grey, Richard Caborn and the Workwise executive,” he said.