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Education and outreach

IOP hosts launch of Islington Council’s pioneering work initiative for schoolchildren

31 January 2020

Scheme featuring careers events and workplace visits will aim to bridge the ‘skills gap’ that many businesses identify in school leavers.

Panelists at the World of Work launch event.
Panelists at the World of Work launch event included (from left to right) Jo Dibb, Rachel Engel, Cllr Asima Shaikh, Usama Mohamed, Jenny Lewis, Matthew Blood and Rachel Youngman

The Institute of Physics (IOP) has hosted the launch of a new and pioneering programme from Islington Council that will ensure that every child in the borough has 100 hours’ experience of the world of work by the time they are 16.

The varied programme includes career insights, work tasters, mentoring, employability workshops, careers events and workplace visits. These experiences and opportunities will help to put Islington’s young people at the front of the queue when looking for their first job, and bridge the ‘skills gap’ that many businesses identify in school leavers.

The council is working to create links between Islington’s schools and the huge variety of businesses in the borough, in order to give young people the skills, confidence and ambition to make the most of the job opportunities on their doorstep.

The launch brought together school leaders and businesses to learn about how they can get involved.

Available to Islington schools and education providers for free, the 100 hours World of Work initiative is the product of extensive consultation by the council with schools and local businesses. Every one of Islington’s family of secondary schools, and many primary schools, have already engaged with the initiative, and almost 40 employers got behind it before the launch.

The IOP gave local primary and secondary schoolchildren the opportunity to speak to staff and learn about the wide range of careers open to people interested in science. The children were also given an interactive tour of the IOP’s Caledonian Road headquarters, so they could see first-hand how science and technology helped to create the cutting-edge, sustainably designed building.

The launch event saw pupils from Robert Blair Primary School work with staff from Three’s tech-ed Discovery programme to make a stop-motion animated film, learning digital skills, flexing their creative muscles and practising collaborative working throughout.

Councillor Asima Shaikh, the council’s executive member for inclusive economy and jobs, said: “We want to make Islington a fairer place by supporting a more inclusive economy, and the 100 hours World of Work programme directly addresses the challenges faced by many of our young people.

“We want to challenge the old adage, ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’, and create a new truth for our young people, many of whom face barriers such as child poverty, overcrowding at home and family unemployment, which all make it harder to secure good quality jobs.

“Some of the best job opportunities in the world, across all types of industry, are available right here on the doorstep; our young people deserve to be ready and able to access and make the most of them, and that is where the 100 hours World of Work comes in.

“The council is playing a key role in opening up these networks by linking primary and secondary school pupils with businesses. Our young people can benefit from expert guidance and get a taste of different professions and working environments – perhaps sparking new passions and future career paths.

“Our target is ambitious but achievable. It is an essential part of connecting our residents to the local economy and making Islington a fairer place for everyone.”

Paul Hardaker, CEO of the IOP, said: “It can make all the difference giving our young people the chance to see the opportunities open to them and the confidence to follow their interests. We are really excited to be part of Islington’s great new initiative.”

Rachel Youngman, deputy CEO of the IOP, added: “The IOP is delighted to have had the opportunity to take part in Islington’s 100 hours World of Work initiative. We made 37 Caledonian Road our home just over a year ago, and are keen to become more involved with the local community.

“Our building is a public space, where we host events and activities that are open to local residents and also bring visitors to the area, and we’re hoping to become a well-known and popular Islington community hub.”