The growing FIRST team doesn’t usually blow its own trumpet, but because of the difference it’s making to young people’s lives – across all areas of work – it’s time for a bit of a fanfare!
As part of our work experience programme with Northumberland College, Skills Funding Agency and the European Social Fund we’ve placed 240 young people in short-term placements; matching their career choices with ambitious SMES from across the North East LEP geography. With 92% of businesses and 91% of students rating our service as excellent – watch this space for a full impact report and celebration event coming soon!
FIRST engages in accelerator weekends at the region’s universities to help students get their heads around what it really means to start a business – and pass on some invaluable employability skills to help them do it. Our latest happy customer is Ailsa Riddell from Northumbria University’s Student and Graduate Enterprise Team: ‘Charlotte and Alice delivered a series of workshops covering networking, confidence and pitching. They provided knowledgeable information on start-up in the region and prepared our students for embarking on their entrepreneurial journeys. They are experts in capturing audience attention, engaging everyone in the room and creating energy and buzz.’
We’ve also been busy in schools with North Tyneside Learning Trust enthusiastically committed to our entrepreneurial competition: INDUSTRY SPARK. Year 7 students have been coming up with solutions to real world problems set by businesses operating in the fastest growing areas of the North East’s economy. At an ideas and talent-rich final ceremony at Tyne Met College this week judges were wowed by the creativity and energy of the region’s young people.
But FIRST wouldn’t be FIRST without the If We Can You Can Challenge and as the new financial year starts, so too does the eleventh campaign to celebrate the most exciting business ideas and entrepreneurial talent from top to toe of the North East and Tees Valley. We aim to be open for entries from just after Easter and with high profile Partners and sponsors already signing up it looks as though it’s going to be another bumper year. If you want to get involved in our extended nine-month programme to celebrate starting and scaling businesses please get in touch with Zoe – you could make all the difference to a young entrepreneur!