Tue, 23 Nov 2021

At BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK, we take our responsibility as a major employer in the region very seriously – and making a positive impact is at the heart of everything we do. And it’s because of this commitment to creating opportunities for young people that we’ve been named as a Cornerstone Employer by The Careers & Enterprise Company.

We sat down with Victoria Gage from The Careers & Enterprise Company and Lucy Lewis from the Solihull Careers Hub to find out more about the network of employers partnered with Careers Hubs across the country, and how these 'cornerstone employers' are helping to bridge the gap between business and the next generation of talent.

Set up by the government in 2015, The Careers & Enterprise Company is the national body for careers education in England, supporting schools and colleges to deliver modern, 21st century careers education. As part of this, the organisation works closely with a network of Cornerstone Employers, like BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK, who help to educate and inspire young people in their local area.

So what exactly is a Cornerstone Employer? Victoria explains “Our Cornerstone Employers are part of a flagship group of more than 300 businesses across multiple sectors who work with networks of schools and colleges to transform the lives of young people.

“As well as helping to improve careers education, they also make sure that key skills for their sector are understood by teachers and education leaders, inspire students and champion jobs in their local area.”

But why is the role of these Cornerstone Employers so important? Lucy says: “Our mission is to help every young person find their best next step – whatever this looks like for them – and our Cornerstone Employers play a vital role in bringing a variety of job roles to life.

“We work with schools to ensure that young people have a clear idea of what they want to do after they leave education – and engaging with our Cornerstone Employers makes the different career options seem much more tangible and in reach.”

Victoria adds: “It’s also important to remember that not every young person has been given access to the same opportunities in life, and many of the young people we work with have faced additional barriers due to social and economic factors that are beyond their control.

“Our mission is to help level the playing field and empower every young person to reach their potential, no matter what their background is.

“By acting as an ambassador for their sector and helping to embed careers education into their organisations, Cornerstone Employers like BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK are helping to tackle disadvantage and drive better outcomes for young people.”

The obvious lack of careers education and growing skills gap and has only been exacerbated by the events of the past 18 months, and according to a survey by The Careers & Enterprise Company, 98% of teachers say their students have been anxious and uncertain about their future choices since lockdown.

Meanwhile, new statistics have revealed that Britain’s employers might be struggling to fill a record one million job vacancies amid the worst labour shortages in a generation – meaning these young people are in fact more in demand than ever before.

Victoria says: “And as we slowly start to emerge out the other side of this pandemic, creating career opportunities for young people will also be a massive part of economic recovery and social mobility for wider society too. And while the work we do is largely focused on inspiring and empowering young people, there are also lots of benefits for the business that work with us too.

“As well as introducing these young people to potential future employers based right on their doorstep, it also gives the employers themselves direct access to the next generation of talent, and a unique insight into what motivates these young people when they’re first starting off in their careers.”

Feeling inspired? If you want to find out more about becoming a Cornerstone Employer, visit: https://www.careersandenterprise.co.uk/employers/become-a-cornerstone-employer/