Bristol businesses invited to help shape the skills of future workforce

Local businesses are being called on to join a new collaboration between Bristol’s employers, learning providers and young people to help develop a skilled local workforce.

Led by Bristol Learning City, WORKS will offer a new way to bridge the skills gap between education and employment, offering local businesses a way to help shape the city’s future employees.

WORKS was launched on Friday with local employers and learning providers at an event hosted by Clarke Willmott, a Learning City partner, with keynote speeches from Bouygues UK and Bristol Metropolitan Academy.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said:

“Providing a variety of opportunities for young people to experience work is essential if we are to make the most of the talent in this city – we know that the more experiences young people have, the more employable they are. We want to inspire young people and raise their aspirations, by engaging local employers and schools to ensure all young people have access to a high quality experience.

“One of my manifesto pledges is to deliver experience of work and the opportunity of an apprenticeship for every young person who wants one. WORKS, through a model of collaborative working, is one way we can make this happen. We make this offer as a city. We should guarantee all young people experiences of work as a city standard.”

WORKS will connect SME and large employers, learning providers and young people. It will operate in a number of key ways, including; encouraging local employers to get involved in different ways; by organising networking opportunities and ways to share good practice; and by helping young people to build up an e-skills portfolio to showcase their skills to future employers.

As well as connecting young people, employers and education providers virtually, WORKS will also be delivered across the city in work places and community venues able to host events. Initially, particular focus will be given to the growing technology and construction industries where there is a national and local skills shortage.

Karl Brown, Senior Associate at Clarke Willmott, said:

“As one of many partners in the city to contribute to Bristol becoming the first UNESCO Learning City in England, at Clarke Willmott we are passionate about the WORKS concept. Bringing together employers and learning providers to co-ordinate, support and increase the experiences of work available to Bristol’s young people is something that will benefit us all. We are wholly behind WORKS and would encourage other local businesses to find out how they could get involved to offer opportunities.”

Lee Probert, Principal at City of Bristol College, said:

“We want to help young people locally to stand out from the crowd; to build the confidence, skills and experience they need to get and keep good jobs in our city. We encourage our students to aim high and this new way of working together has great potential to create new, exciting opportunities for all young people in Bristol.”

Local employers that can offer experiences of work, mentoring or would like a discussion about taking on apprentices are encouraged to email:

For more information, visit: