Business Advisers are being sought to help South West youngsters thrive in the world of work.

As part of a Young Enterprise employability scheme mentors are needed to help students excel.

The YE Company Programme helps build their confidence; teaches them employability skills and gives them the knowledge and expertise they need to develop a real product for the marketplace.

Besides helping students make the connection between school and the world of work, the initiative helps schools offer a more effective careers programme – in line with Department for Education recommendations that place Gatsby career benchmarks at its heart.

Stephanie Anderson, Young Enterprise Area Manager for Plymouth, West Devon and Cornwall, said: “There are many companies that are looking for corporate social responsibility opportunities as well as making a real difference to youngsters’ lives. The Company Programme fulfils both. By being involved with YE, our volunteers really do help youngsters succeed and help them to develop new skills that are sought after by employers.

“It is crucial that we recruit as many volunteers as we can. We need volunteers to come forward from throughout the South West but particularly in Plymouth and throughout Cornwall. Research shows the Company Programme creates life-changing opportunities.”

Anyone interested is welcome to attend future network meetings: at the Duke of Cornwall, Plymouth, next Tuesday (September 18th) at 5pm or Pirate FM, Redruth, next Thursday (September 20th) at 4.30pm.

Contact Mrs Anderson for further details on: 07903029554.

Last year’s winners

This year the YE South West Final, saw finalists from across the region compete for the title SW Company of the Year and a place in the national final. Save our World from Ilfracombe Academy were this year’s South West winners. Their Mission was to teach the younger generation the effects that plastic pollution has on wildlife and the environment around them in a fun and creative way.  Their product is a suite of three books for children aged 3-8 years. The stories feature a hero called Peter the Puffin who goes out of his way to save other animals of the sea including Tilly the Turtle, Simon the Seagull and Sandy the Seal.

Other success stories included two teams from Truro and Penwith College, Cornwall. Aroma Beads won through to the SW final with their aromatherapy-infused jewellery. With increasing awareness of the importance of mental health, their product helped boost serotonin levels as well as acting as revision guides through scent-guided memory recall. Whilst the Cornish Essence team won the Start Up National Final with a range of Car Air Fresheners based on scents of the Cornish coast and countryside.

Other successful products ranged from a dementia-friendly diary, a children’s bereavement kit, a safe to drink travel mug with a temperature gauge, a cookbook featuring recipes donated by establishments throughout Devon, a dental health kit, cake making kits and headphone holders.

Mrs Anderson added: “These students are absolutely inspiring. They have worked so hard to produce such great quality and appealing products whilst having the added pressure of studying for exams. We are all extremely proud of them. However, our county and regional events would not be possible without the support of local business people giving up their time to help.”

National figures show 95% of YE respondents surveyed were in Education, Employment and Training compared to a national average of 88%.