Enterprise Advisers: bringing the automotive industry into schools

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) latest Enterprise Adviser, Rob Dodds, works with the Link School in Pallion, Sunderland, to help increase awareness of career opportunities in the automotive industry and upskill the next generation of young people for when they leave education and move into the world of work.

Rob, who is Apprentice Coordinator at Sunderland-based car parts manufacturer Unipres (UK) and a  supplier to Nissan, is  volunteering  as an Enterprise Adviser as part of the North East LEP’s drive to bring business leaders into schools and shape careers provision. It’s part of the LEP’s wider skills programme of activity to identify and plug skills gaps, and equip young people with the knowledge, skills and abilities employers  look for in the future workforce

Rob works and supports  the Link School in Sunderland who until Robs support did not have access to employers. Students now take part in the Industrial Cadets programme at Unipres, learning about every aspect of the business and gaining insights into working in the automotive industry.

Rob also offers careers talks with Unipres apprentices, giving students the chance to talk and relate to people near their own age who are currently working in the automotive industry.

Rob said: “The Enterprise Adviser initiative provides the link for schools to get in touch with employers.

“It helps youngsters to decide what they want to do in future, and we try to link it in with their curriculum.

“The skills shortage in the North East region is pretty big and Unipres, as a large employer, believe it is important to put something back.

“We didn’t set out to gain anything from the programme other than to try to bridge the skills gap. If we even get one person through the door interested in a career in the automotive industry, we’d consider it a fantastic success.”