Our pioneering employability scheme that helps prepare young people for the world of work has won a national award.
Our managing director, Ali Carnegie, has won the Career and Enterprise Company National Enterprise Award in the SME-sized employer category, for his Mentor+ project.
Ali was presented with the accolade at the Career and Enterprise Company ‘Joining the Dots’ conference on May 10, which aimed to celebrate how companies and partners are working together to help youngsters into the workplace.
Launched as a pilot scheme in 2014, Mentor+ brings together local business and church communities to help bridge the gap between education and employment in Cornwall.
Churches, and the communities that surround them, have many retired or semi-retired people with the understanding and skills necessary to mentor young people into employment.
Led by these volunteer mentors, the project equips young people with the tools they need to head out into the world of work by helping them develop an understanding of what employers are looking for, helping them with job applications, CVs and interview skills, identify their strengths and weakness, while also building confidence.
Mentor+ saw excellent results in its first two years and leaders are now hoping the project will be taken up and expanded throughout the region.
Of the Duchy College students who embarked on Mentor+ in 2015/2016, 100 per cent said they understood what employers were looking for and 100 per cent understood their own strengths and weaknesses. In addition, 96 per cent were more confident in writing a good CV, 93 per cent had a clearer idea of potential careers to suit their skills and 86 per cent were more confident in their ability to perform well in interview.
Alastair Carnegie, managing director of Total Energy Solutions and lead coordinator for Mentor+, said: “We are delighted that Mentor+ has been recognised as best practice for its work in supporting young people in preparing for the world of work.
“At Total Energy Solutions we have long recognised the need to support youngsters in our region in preparing to enter the workplace and are at the forefront of a number of employability mentoring projects.
“We believe that Mentor+ has the ability to change lives and should be rolled out across the whole of the region for future generations."
Kim Conchie, Chief Executive of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are very supportive of the Mentor+ programme and delighted that Ali has won this award.
“As a programme, it puts the drive of young people to succeed into a mix of private hands and public responsibility, which I think really works well.
“We obviously champion the private sector and encourage schools to embrace business people to help young people get their thoughts straight before deciding which career to take.”
The Archdeacon of Cornwall, Venerable Bill Stuart-White, said: “I think it is fantastic that Mentor+ has won this award.
“I think (Mentor+) addresses such an obvious need in helping youngsters present themselves to the best of their ability. It is something that can make such a huge difference to the lives of men and women as they go into the world. It is something that can be delivered by a whole variety of people in the local community.
“We are looking at talking further with Ali about Mentor+ to encourage the scheme in different locations across the region.”
Mentor+ and Ali were nominated for the award by Carrie Holmes, Enterprise Coordinator for the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership.
Carrie said: “I nominated Ali for this award because I feel that he and Total Energy Solutions deserves recognition for the difference he and his team of volunteers have made to young people in Cornwall. Running an eight week employability course for young people is an incredible investment in time and energy.
“Businesses like TES that volunteer and invest their time and expertise to our young people and schools in terms of building their employability skills should be recognised and their efforts celebrated. We’re incredibly lucky to have a range of innovative, creative and technical SMEs in Cornwall with a wide range of insider knowledge. They can truly help develop our careers education to not only benefit our young people but ensure that our local businesses gain the future workforce they need to help the Cornish economy thrive.
Ali is now in the process of trying to secure funding and sign up new business volunteers to help progress Mentor+ into the future. If you are interested in supporting the scheme, contact Ali on 01579 370073.