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Student Mentoring ‘Could Bridge Skills Gap’


Mentoring based schemes could provide a cost-effective way of addressing the UK's skill shortage, according to the chairman of an organisation that links students with industry.

East Mentoring Forum chairman Ken Lewis said that schemes such as his give students important industry knowledge while businesses gain fresh talent.

Speaking at the Forum's conference Mr Lewis said: "Technology graduates are often not attractive to many employers as they lack practical experience, however, these mentoring schemes clearly demonstrate that if youngsters have aptitude and initiative then they can add value to an organisation even before they have had the benefit of higher education.

"Likewise, managers who mentor youngsters are in a much better position to motivate a young workforce and can spot those with entrepreneurial talents at an early stage."

The Forum runs a Year in Industry (YII) programme, which is designed to arrange industrial placements for young men and women after A levels and before higher education.

Alan Gibbons, Director of YII said: "The idea is to give young people a real taste of working in industry before doing their professional qualifications.

"They are paid £11,500 for their year, but the value that they give to companies in that time can sometimes total millions of pounds.

"The participants are more focused when they go to university and many are offered high ranking jobs with their host company on graduation."

According to Mr Gibbons 79% of youngsters involved in the scheme go on to gain a 2:1 or better at university compared to the average of 51%, and 21% gain scholarships compared to just 2% for the national average.


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