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Duo UK initiates drive to tackle skills gap with local college

With recent reports revealing eight out of ten UK businesses are suffering due to a lack of skilled workers*, Duo UK, is taking a proactive approach in highlighting careers in manufacturing by developing a partnership with Prestwich Arts College.

The partnership between Duo and the College aims to highlight the range of careers that are available within the manufacturing industry and encourage young people to develop the skills that are needed to enter careers in the sector, and what potential employees will look for in a candidate. 

As part of the ongoing relationship with Duo, business studies students from Prestwich Arts College have visited the manufacturer's factory where they spoke with members of the senior management team and directors about careers in manufacturing, looked at the manufacturing process and had the opportunity to ask questions about the business to help with their coursework.  Students have also taken part in mock interviews with Duo designed to give them an insight into the personal, as well as academic, qualities that are valued in the world of work. Future plans include further visits and a presentation at the College's careers evening about key skills and qualities required in the workplace.

Zoe Brimelow, Brand Director at Duo UK, said: "As a manufacturer we are constantly fighting to find individuals with the aptitude and talent we need to strengthen our team and continue to grow our business. This is why we feel very strongly about addressing the skills gap and investing in young talent, for us an individual's attitude and willingness to learn is just as important as academic grades.

"This is really the start of our relationship with Prestwich Arts College - we both share the view that choosing the right career option and selecting the right training or education path is a big decision. There is not only one route to a career, there is a wide range of different pathways for students to go down to meet their career ambitions. Apprenticeships, degrees, workplace training are just a few of the options available, our job is to together open the students eyes to the vast range of options and help them to find the right path for them as an individual. This is not only relevant to older students at the end of their secondary school journey, but there are also opportunities to open younger students' eyes to their future career options earlier on, and that's what we hope to do.

"Manufacturing offers a fantastic variety of rewarding careers and we want young people to consider the sector when choosing their career. This is why it's great to be able to work with such a forward-thinking college as Prestwich, and we hope to inspire even more schools and businesses to collaborate so we can address the skills gap together."

Chris Hornby, Headteacher at Prestwich Arts College, said: "Our partnership with Duo is all about expanding career options and providing a better service for our young people. It's fantastic to be able to link with a successful local business and our students have been very much inspired by these visits. The partnership with Duo forms part of our rejuvenated careers offering which has been designed in line with DfE best practice. New initiatives include individually assigned careers advisors for students, a new careers hub and a year-round events programme."

Ben Conway, student at Prestwich Arts College, said: "We learned a lot from our trip to Duo's factory, and it's really helped us realise the benefits of an apprenticeship and working in the manufacturing industry. I know what to choose for my subject options now and have a clearer vision as to what I want to do as a career."

Published: 09/03/2015

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