Solent LEP brings together education and employers to improve career opportunities for young people

The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) brought together the region’s careers leaders, Enterprise Advisers, employers and local authority representatives at an event last month, held at Jurys Inn, Southampton, to improve job opportunities for young people. 

The Solent LEP works with local schools and colleges, universities, training providers, employers and career professionals to support careers, training and skills development across the Solent region. 

Brooke Hoskins, Solent LEP Executive Director for Skills, said: “Making the connection between business and education is critical for our region’s future success and prosperity.  Equipping our young people with the information they need to pursue their career ambitions, at the same time as ensuring businesses have a workforce coming through with the skills they need, has never been more important. 

We were thrilled with the support and the turnout at our event, and it was encouraging to see so many people from schools, colleges and a range of businesses building networks which will help the Solent economy prosper and people in our communities to thrive.” 

The day saw more than 60 professionals collaborate and share information on careers education and guidance available in local schools and colleges. Delegates heard from a range of speakers from industry on how businesses can support young people to make informed choices about their futures and how schools and colleges can work together with employers to help young people find and follow rewarding career paths.  

Richard Harlow, Project Launch & Quality Control Manager at Marine Concepts, talked about the current skills shortage in industry and the importance of ensuring careers professionals know what skills businesses are looking for so that they can pass the message on to young people, as well as advise them on the available different routes into employment. 

After the event, he said: “I knew there was real importance in investing in education and young people to help our business, but I learnt so much at the LEP’s networking event and realise that there is a lot happening.  

“I have made many new connections today and look forward to working with local schools and colleges more closely.” 

Adam Watts, Communications & Social Value Manager from Milestone Infrastructure, spoke about the supported internships, apprenticeships and placements for young people with Special Educational Needs run by the organisation. This experience has helped students move on to permanent workplace posts in many different sectors. 


He said: “It was amazing to be in the room with so many passionate individuals. We are now collaborating in ways we never considered, there are exciting times ahead.” 

Many of the speakers focussed on the work experience or engagement opportunities that they offer and the desire to collaborate more with schools and colleges. 

Also taking part were: Darren Coventry and Lorna Wagner from Solent LEP; Kat Millmore-Davies from the NHS; Jamie Garrett from PETA; Sue Geoff from Taylor Wimpey; Adrian Hull from the University of Portsmouth; Phil Clark at Tech Solent; Claire Pearce and Helen Robinson from National Parks; and Catherine Bolland from The Careers and Enterprise Company. 

A networking session was held by The Careers and Enterprise Company, giving a demonstration of the Future Skills Questionnaire and how this can support schools with their careers’ programmes. 

Find out more about the Solent LEP’s Careers and Skills Hub and the role of the Enterprise Advisers at