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GBSLEP sponsors Professional Services Week, expanding into Coventry and Solihull

The BPS Birmingham initiative that brings 9+ students together with firms from the Business, Professional and Financial Services sector for a series of workplace visits, workshops and seminars will be taking place for the fourth year at the end of June.

This year’s Professional Services Week (PSW) will be expanding its reach further with two days of activity in Coventry and Solihull.

Sponsored by DLA Piper, Deloitte and the Greater Birmingham Professional Services Academy (part of BMET) and endorsed by the West Midlands Mayor, WMCA and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, PSW is aiming to bring over 2000 9+ students into a meaningful engagement with professional firms from across the region. PSW will be held between Monday 24 and Friday 28 June.

Last year’s PSW saw 45 schools register to take part resulting in 2000 students involved in a range of activities through the week at over 40 different professional firms. That number is expected to increase in 2019 as the initiative extends its reach into Coventry and Warwickshire, and Solihull.

Solihull day will take place on Tuesday and be co-ordinated by ProSolihull and Wednesday’s Coventry and Warwickshire Day by C & W First with support from Coventry City BID.

This year schools located in the Black Country will also be able to take part in PSW with buses being laid on to bring students to the Birmingham activities.

At the core of the initiative is the aim to raise aspirations of school children to include the BPFS sector as a career of choice. Following on from last year’s week over 50 % of the students who took part said in a survey revealed that they would now consider a career in the sector following their workplace visits. PSW also provides professional firms with a positive and coordinated opportunity to engage with local students, and schools many of whom are located in harder to reach wards.

Once again, Birmingham Education Partnership, The Careers and Enterprise Company and The Ahead Partnership will be supporting the week. This year WMCA have put their support behind the week and West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, who has visited sessions held during PSW during the past three years, will be involved in the initiative again this year.

Commenting on the extension to PSW, Hilary Smyth Allen, Executive Director of BPS Birmingham, said:

We are delighted that for the first time firms and schools in Coventry and Warwickshire and Solihull are taking part in PSW. Professional services in those areas are growing and as a consequence they require to resource that growth effectively and what better way than to encourage local students to consider the opportunities being created. We know all of the research indicates that meaningful engagement and interventions with students is highly positive. PSW provides both employers and students the opportunity to meet and for the young people to experience what professional firms are all about and what employment prospects exist within them. We get fantastic support from firms, schools and the wider  civic and education communities and bringing this collective of organisations together helps us to facilitate a meaningful week of activities that we hope will inspire young people to a career in the BPFS sector.

Chris Loughran, Deputy Chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, commented;

Professional Services Week now enters its fourth year which is a testament to its success in providing a meaningful week of engagement between students, and the region’s professional firms. With the Business, Professional and Financial Services sector being so significant to the local economy, it is important that we demonstrate to our young people the myriad of opportunities available in this high growth sector. The role of the Local Enterprise Partnership is to stimulate economic growth in just this way, connecting employees of the future with career development opportunities and, I am delighted that we are able to build on the success of Professional Services Week and help its expansion into Solihull. It is important also to acknowledge the great work employers in this sector are doing by engaging with young people early, opening their doors and talking to students. They are setting a great example that others would do well to follow.