Inspira and the Lancashire Skills Hub have won the national award for the Careers Hub of the Year.

The annual Careers Excellence Awards shine a light on best practice careers provision, inspiring and preparing young people for success in the world of work. This year they were held at the Royal Society of Chemistry in London on Friday the 27th September.

The hub brings schools and colleges together with universities, training providers, employers and career professionals with the aim of providing a ‘gold standard’ in careers education for local students.

The Lancashire delegation were also commended in three other categories at the ceremony.

Neil Conlon, the Business Development Manager for Preston-based Conlon Construction, was commended for Enterprise Adviser of the Year. He is a voluntary Enterprise Adviser for Eden Boys' School in Preston, helping the school plan and develop its careers programme.

He is also a private sector member of the Lancashire Skills and Employment Advisory Panel, which works on strategy and planning for skills and jobs. Mr Conlon said: “I am delighted to have been awarded the commendation for Enterprise Adviser of the Year. I would encourage other Lancashire businesses to get involved and help inspire our young people.”

Shuttleworth College, Burnley, was commended for School of the Year, for an excellent careers programme meeting all eight Gatsby Benchmarks – the Ofsted-recognised standard for world-class careers provision.

The college is lead school for the Lancashire Careers Hub and Head Teacher, Ruth England, is on the Lancashire Skills and Employment Advisory Panel.

Mrs England said: “We are thrilled with the commendation. The business and education networks we have built as part of the Careers Hub and working alongside the LEP have been great. It is fantastic to see more and more of our young people benefitting from quality encounters with employers and training providers.”

Pendleside Hospice, Burnley, was commended for Small to Medium Business of the Year for delivering a tailored careers programme to schools or colleges, with an innovative approach.

Chief Executive Helen McVey is an Enterprise Adviser and the hospice is very proactive in working in its community with schools and colleges and inspiring young people. She said: "We are thrilled at the commendation. This is testimony to the time staff from the hospice have given to inspire young people across Burnley and Pendle. I would encourage more businesses to support the Give an Hour campaign, investing in both your current and future workforce."

The Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC) run the nationwide awards in partnership with the Gatsby Foundation. They go to schools, colleges, employers, local areas and providers which demonstrate best practice in careers provision.

Over the past few years, the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), working through the Lancashire Skills Hub, has launched a wide-ranging drive to improve careers education in the county, working closely with schools, colleges, local businesspeople and careers management delivery partner Inspira. There are 131 schools and colleges in the Lancashire wide Enterprise Adviser Network, and 30 in the Careers Hub which spans Blackpool, Burnley and Pendle. 

LEP Board Director for Skills and Technical Education and Chair of the Lancashire Skills and Employment Advisory Panel, Amanda Melton, said: “We are thrilled and proud at this huge national recognition for the quality of careers work in Lancashire.

“Following on from the recent success of eight local schools and colleges in being recognised as providing world-class careers education, these awards show that young people in the county can now access high standards of careers education across the board.

“As a result, they have better job prospects and businesses can access a wider talent pool, helping them grow and succeed. Through our Give an Hour campaign, we are asking more local business people to volunteer a little of their time to work with local students.”

Mark Bowman, Chief Exec of Inspira said: "The nominations are a fantastic accolade for the all the hard work the careers partners, Enterprise Co-ordinators and Enterprise Advisers have done to connect the business world with education institutions in Lancashire."