February 22, 2021 @ 10:35 by Richard Dawson
A free careers programme launched to raise aspirations among young people in Newcastle and the North East has seen a big rise in attendance and engagement.
NE1 CAN switched to online delivery in March last year and is now planning to use the lessons learned during the pandemic to shape its programmes for the future.
Launched by NE1, the business improvement district, NE1 CAN aims to connect businesses and employers with future employees.
The initiative provides insights and advice on jobs and careers to help young people broaden their horizons.
Sessions are free for all schools and education establishments to attend and NE1 works with a wide range of businesses to deliver the programme.
Programme statistics from September to December 2020 revealed that the number of education providers involved with the scheme doubled from 14 in 2019 to 28 in 2020.
The number of individuals in attendance also went from 308 to 733 over the same period, while individual employer encounters more than trebled from 308 to 1043.
Kerry McCabe, business network manager at NE1 CAN said: “NE1 CAN is a small, agile team, and thankfully we were able to respond quickly to Covid-19 and adjust the delivery of our programme to suit our new circumstances.
“We have worked hard to ensure that the quality of the events has not been compromised and the 400 per cent rise in the number of attendees and the feedback we’ve received clearly illustrates the appetite for the programme and the success of the sessions to date.
“There is a determination amongst young people to continue to focus on their future career goals despite the economic and social challenges they are currently facing.”
The 2021 programme from Easter to July is currently being developed with the NE1 CAN team hoping that delivery will become a hybrid model as lockdown restrictions ease.
The team plan to combine online delivery with a return to an in-person programme, with young people attending while the event is live streamed to retain inclusivity and reach.