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The first mass Virtual Open Week for colleges and schools is being piloted by Dev Clever working with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and supported by the Titan Partnership and the Careers Development Institute (CDi).

The Virtual Open Week is being organised and managed through the Launchyourcareer.com platform (https://launchyourcareer.com/) which is a dedicated careers resource that is free for schools and students to use.  Students are encouraged to explore their career and future learning options whilst careers leaders in school can use it to support their careers education programmes and the Gatsby Benchmarks.

The Virtual Open week is giving all twenty-one colleges across the West Midlands the opportunity to virtually ‘meet’ students from over 300 schools across the region.

Every school and college plus every career adviser and Enterprise Co-ordinator has been invited to participate in the Week and support this important event. Schools will register on Launchyourcareer.com and their pupils will create a profile and identify the careers and subject areas that interest them the most.

Colleges design and plan the live sessions they want to deliver and these are timetabled across the week.  The school students are then matched to the sessions that fit with the choices they have made on Launchyourcareer.com and invited to attend.

North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) will be supporting the event with eight specialised sessions. Students will have the chance to find out about courses available at the new Digital Skills Academy, the MIRA Technology Institute that specialises in automotive engineering as well as a wide range of courses at the College’s Nuneaton and Hinckley Campuses. Students will also have the chance to speak to tutors about their next steps.

Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive at NWSLC said: ‘We are extremely excited to take part in this collaborative project. This is a much needed event that will allow young people across the region to access the information they need to make informed choices about their future.’

Chris Jeffries CEO Dev Clever said: ‘The impact of Covid 19 means that many young people are potentially missing out on the opportunity to investigate their options and, in particular, to visit and explore what colleges can offer.  Working together with our partners, we are providing an opportunity for young people from across the region to connect with colleges and giving colleges a great opportunity to connect with young people at scale. This pilot has huge potential and if successful could be rolled out as a national event from next year.’

Carolyn Chapman-Lees, CEO, Titan Partnership said: ‘Titan Partnership is absolutely delighted to be supporting this Dev Clever project as it very clearly addresses the much-needed help that young people need as they explore their future careers and the skills they will need. This dedicated week will help young people explore their career options whilst also raising awareness and aspirations. Ultimately it will assist them in realising their future potential. In these challenging times this project will not only support our young people to make important decisions, it will help our schools and colleges to work together virtually, creating real benefits, efficiencies and tangible impacts for everyone involved, most importantly for our young people.’

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: ‘Our young people are our future. Their contribution will be vital as we rebuild our region’s economy in the longer term after the Covid-19 crisis, so it’s critical that we support young people through this period and beyond. The Virtual Open Week is a great initiative during this difficult time to help young people from across the West Midlands to find out more about the careers that interest them most. We are proud to be supporting the Week, and I would urge all students to make the most of this opportunity to explore what’s on offer from our local colleges.’

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