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Young people from across Nottinghamshire will have the chance to boost their employability prospects thanks to an innovative new career support service launching today.

Teachers from across the county will be able use a new online portal to book careers ambassadors to visit schools, either virtually or in person, in a bid to increase young people’s exposure to potential future employers and support their career choices.

Created by Nottingham headquartered software company, Ideagen and Nottingham Forest Community Trust (NFCT) as part of their Think Big partnership, the hope is that more firms will get involved thus widening the exposure young people have to career opportunities.

Speaking about the initiative, Claire Knee who leads the project for Ideagen, said: “Student engagement with employers is vital. Statistically, young people who have taken part in up to four activities with employers are 86% less likely to become NEET (not in employment, education or training) between the ages of 16 and 24 compared with those who did none, making the service an important and exciting opportunity.”

This is echoed by Sian Gresswell, Senior Advisor – Careers and Employability at the Greenwood Academics Trust, who has seen first-hand the impact Think Big ambassadors have had on students:

“We know that meaningful and memorable encounters with employers can be life changing for young people. Meeting inspiring and relatable role models as they approach big decisions around next steps and different pathways into the world of work can help to guide and influence these choices.

“Think Big is an excellent opportunity for young people to meet a diverse range of ambassadors and learn about technology careers in different sectors, helping to make these roles more accessible and exciting. We are hugely grateful to Ideagen for creating this programme and look forward to seeing more of our students take part each year.”

Think Big ambassadors available through the new service include 10 employees from NFCT and 40 from Ideagen – all with a wealth of experiences and from a range of levels starting with apprentices through to management, from marketing to sales, IT, digital, product development and finance. Ambassadors have dedicated profiles on the new portal where they share insights into their role and career pathway, enabling career leaders to read more and book a session suitable for their school or particular students.

Ben Dorks, Ideagen CEO, said: “Our hope with this initiative is that it gives young people an understanding of all the possibilities there are for them in technology careers. I’m proud that together with Nottingham Forest, such a large number of people from both organisations have volunteered to become Think Big ambassadors to share their career stories and the decisions they made along the way.”

Nearly 13,000 students from 35 secondary schools have benefited from Think Big activities in the year to January 2023. This has included hosting assemblies, workshops, masterclasses, and tech for good challenges aimed at promoting technology as a career choice and raising awareness of the different technology-related career paths.

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