The Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership Skills team (OxLEP Skills) is urging those seeking employment or a change in career – along with organisations that work closely with such individuals – to get in touch and engage with their new virtual mentoring platform, ‘OxGROW’.
12 experienced business mentors from across Oxfordshire have been secured through the initiative to offer support to individuals, with help in areas such as developing resilience, CV writing and preparing for interviews.
The mentoring scheme forms part of OxLEP Skills’ Social Contract Programme, a £1.7m programme of activity aiming to remove barriers to employment for individuals impacted most by the pandemic or experiencing challenges to employment, education and training, including those over the age of 50 in Oxfordshire who may be affected by labour market challenges.
A core ambition of the programme is also to improve social mobility for minority ethnic communities in Oxfordshire.
The OxGROW platform is hosted by mentoring software experts Connectr, which also gives mentees access to learning and development activities to complement the support given by mentors – who can be contacted based on their relevant skills and experience for the areas support is required within.
The mentoring platform forms part of the Social Contract Programme alongside various other initiatives, including the ‘No Limits’ programme – a scheme to support those furthest from the labour market with access to areas such as skills development support and costs including travel bursaries – with OxLEP Skills working in partnership with charity organisations SOFEA and Aspire to deliver the initiative.
Other schemes forming part of the Social Contract include support unlocking or transferring unused Apprenticeship Levy funds with the support of two expert Apprenticeship Advisors, and the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Grant Scheme, offering grant support to ensure apprenticeships starts and completions for businesses within the county.
The OxGROW mentoring platform is of mutual benefit – acting as a rewarding social value opportunity to mentors, as they support others in their career journey – helping to prepare Oxfordshire’s residents in a tight labour market and increase the talent pipeline for Oxfordshire employers, whilst making new connections – whilst also supporting those experiencing challenges entering employment or their chosen sector, by gaining the invaluable support of a business expert.
Sally Andreou – Skills Hub Manager at OxLEP – said: “OxLEP Skills is delighted to be running the ‘OxGROW’ mentoring scheme as part of our Social Contract Programme.
“We have been lucky enough to recruit such a vast number of high calibre business mentors to the programme and are now calling upon the numerous invaluable social enterprises and employment-focused organisations that work closely with individuals who can really benefit from this initiative to help spread the word on all that ‘OxGROW’ and the Social Contract have to offer.
“The virtual mentoring platform is fully funded, requires little in the way of time commitment and can be of real value to anyone looking to gain employment or change career – it only takes mere minutes to go to our website, sign up to the platform and take a look at the profiles of the mentors who could help you to secure your next career opportunity.”
Ben Payne, Apprenticeships Manager at Oxfordshire County Council, has signed up to be a mentor, along with his whole team. Ben said: “The apprenticeship team here at Oxfordshire County Council are really excited to be supporting the ‘OxGROW’ mentoring programme.
“As a large employer within the county, as well as being the County Council, we feel that supporting and developing local talent to achieve employment and education is vital in creating a greater Oxfordshire.
“This Programme will allow the team to engage with our community by providing support from our experience and knowledge, to better equip the users of this service to strive for their next steps which will hopefully provide positive outcomes. It is schemes like this that support the future workforce, and we are really excited at the opportunity of being a part of that movement.”
The Social Contract has been funded by the government’s Contain Outbreak Management Fund, with funding secured by OxLEP.
If you’re interested in joining the platform as a mentor, contact [email protected] to find out more.