With unprecedented changes ahead for the country, Cumbria must look forward and concentrate on securing a solid economic base, which will require having a future workforce which has the necessary technical and employability skills to match the economic drivers of the county.

Enterprise Adviser Networks are a relatively new concept – but are proving to be a viable and intelligent way forward to ensuring Cumbria's future workforce needs.

Led by The Career Enterprise Company (CEC), a national body that brings together schools, colleges, employers and providers to provide high impact careers and enterprise support for young people; Enterprise Adviser Networks are springing up all over England in a bid to achieve one goal -  to encourage business volunteers to become Enterprise Advisers, and thus help the country and consequently Cumbria, ensure the future workforce is knowledgeable, equipped and ready for the jobs of the future.

Nationally the youth unemployment rate currently stands at about 560,000. This is despite the fact that there are over 750,000 current job vacancies; around a quarter of these vacancies are skills-shortage related.

Inspira manages the Enterprise Adviser Network in both Cumbria and Lancashire, on behalf of the CEC and the Local Enterprise Partnerships. In Cumbria the Inspira has led a successful campaign to recruit prominent business people from different sectors and company sizes.

Dianne Richardson the Socio-Economic Manager at Balfor Beatty is matched with Cockermouth School, and says: "For me the Enterprise Advisor Network 'joins the dots' making sure that schools, students, businesses and communities all work together to get the best results for everyone. None of us can solve the skills issue alone, we need everyone working together. If each student has four business visits in their school career, their chances of becoming NEET are reduced by 86%. In a world that likes to see results for investment that is a seriously impressive return!"

Diane has just been shortlisted for the Enterprise Adviser Award by the Careers & Enterprise Company, we wish her luck for Wednesday 10th of May at the awards ceremony.

"Enterprise Advisers support a local school or college to develop an employer engagement plan," said Mark Bowman, Chief Executive of Inspira. "The plan is designed to place opportunities with employers at the heart of a young person’s education. An Adviser typically spends around 8 hours per month for one academic year flexibly fitting their role into their work schedule."

If you're a school, college or business and would like to find out about how you can get involved in the Enterprise Adviser Network, call Inspira on 01931 711 300