Businesses are getting involved in a scheme to help teenagers in Mansfield and Ashfield prepare themselves for the world of work.
The Enterprising Schools programme aims to help secondary school students to develop the skills employers are looking for in new recruits.
The initiative, funded by Ashfield and Mansfield district councils, wants to help address a skills gap which sees businesses in the area looking elsewhere for employees.
Councillor Dave Saunders, Mansfield council portfolio holder for regeneration, said: “This area suffers significantly from an imbalance of low skills and low wages with the higher skilled, higher-paying jobs often going to workers from outlying areas.
“Unless we tackle this local skills shortage, this situation is only likely to get worse.
“Occupations and skills needs are changing. Early predictions for the next decade highlight a rise in jobs requiring intermediate to high level qualifications, while the demand for low skilled jobs is in decline.”
Latest figures show 56.3 per cent of pupils at schools in Mansfield and Ashfield achieve grades A* to C in both GSCE maths and English, below both the Nottinghamshire average of 65.9 per cent and the national average of 63 per cent.
Enterprising Schools is a three-day programme for pupils in Years 9, 10 and 11, aged 13 to 16. Employers in the area act as business mentors or role models and students take part in problem-solving exercises.
The scheme, delivered in partnership with ideas4careers, could help 1,600 young people at up to 14 schools over the next three years.
One school which has already signed up is All Saints’ Catholic Academy in Mansfield.
Laura Johnson, assistant headteacher at the Broomhill Lane school, said: “It is important the students have that connection with industry and real-world career choices and see other people from outside school who can reinforce the importance of teamwork and initiative and deadlines.”
Ross Foulkes, aged 14, a pupil at All Saints, said: “We learned how to manage our time like we would have to do if we had a job.”