Image shows l-r: Diane Fisher, Business/Careers Leader & Scott Wade, Deputy Headteacher, Kingsthorpe College; Roz Bird, Commercial Director, Silverstone Park; Julia Muir, CEO, Gaia Innovation; Neil Patterson, Principal, Silverstone UTC; Andy McGinnes, Headteacher & Pete Roberts, Deputy Headteacher, Buckingham School.

Silverstone Park developer MEPC has appointed Gaia Innovation to launch a pilot project working with schools – Inspiration for Innovation – with the aim of helping young people in the area achieve higher level skills and better career opportunities due to greater engagement with local employers.

More than 20 businesses associated with Silverstone Park have already volunteered to take part in Inspiration for Innovation which will benefit extensively from Gaia’s expertise in inspiring secondary school students (see editors’ notes).

Starting in September 2018, the programme will work with three schools – predominantly Kingsthorpe College in Northampton and also Buckingham School and Silverstone University Technology College.

Following the pilot, the aim is to roll the programme out to more schools within the local area in future years.

Students will receive up to four ‘positive interactions’ with employers during the academic year which could include presentations, work place visits, workshops, one-to-one discussions and work experience.

A major focus for businesses involved will be to inspire and inform youngsters about the importance of core skills for employment in the future:

•    Literacy and communication skills
•    Numeracy and problem solving skills
•    Personal skills
•    Social skills
•    Creativity skills
•    Technology skills

There will also be a specific focus aimed at inspiring more girls to consider careers in engineering.

MEPC’s Roz Bird, Commercial Director for Silverstone Park, commented: “As a company, MEPC wants to be a force for good in the community by inspiring young people and addressing the needs of customers when it comes to skills.

“This programme is part of MEPC’s Responsible Property Management programme, and it is great because we’re able to take action and do something positive to develop relationships between our business community and local schools, ultimately inspiring young people to work hard and do their best.

“We were fortunate enough to be introduced to Gaia by Tim Maccabee, MD of Ducati UK who are based at Silverstone Park, through the inspirational work they already do with school students. Having seen the results this has achieved and with buy-in from so many of our occupier businesses, we are delighted to be working with Gaia to make this programme happen.”

Gaia Innovation founder and Chief Executive Julia Muir said: “Our philosophy is that employers, particularly those with skills deficits, are best placed to inform teachers and inspire youngsters to equip themselves with the right skills for the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR).

“We introduce youngsters to the people working in these sectors and take them to see these ‘real models’ in their workplaces. We ensure the volunteering process is easy and enjoyable for the employers, and measure the impact of every interaction with the school.

“The employees based at Silverstone Park will be hugely inspirational for the youngsters, and will advise them on the personal, social and people skills they will need in working life. They will ignite a spark of interest in following a pathway to a career in engineering and advanced technology, and help to open their eyes to the many and varied job opportunities out there.

“Over the next few decades many of those opportunities will be a result of 4IR – something that Silverstone Park and its business networks, including the Silverstone Technology Cluster, are right at the heart of…

“Furthermore MEPC has demonstrated to us a very real approach to responsible governance and its development of the estate and it is that commitment and passion that makes us very excited about this programme.”

Kingsthorpe’s Deputy Head Scott Wade enthused: “We are really excited and looking forward to partnering with Silverstone Park and Gaia Innovation as we look to drive forward our careers and enterprise programme in to a long term and sustainable model that empowers our students, parents and staff.

“Inspiration for Innovation is a tremendous opportunity to inspire students and parents. It opens young people’s eyes up to the fact that there are far more exciting opportunities available within the local job market.”

Submitted on 12/07/2018