Oakfield’s construction partner Mi-space, part of the Midas Group, takes part in the Enterprise Adviser scheme run by the Careers & Enterprise Company. The scheme acts as a catalyst, connecting employers with schools and colleges throughout England to deliver world-class careers education. Mi-space are providing careers advice and guidance, and construction opportunities, to students at Swindon’s Dorcan Academy. We spoke to Michelle Cole, Mi-space’s Enterprise Adviser for Dorcan Academy, to find out more.
Michelle, what is the Enterprise Adviser programme?
“The Enterprise Adviser role ensures the school is supported to provide good quality careers education for students. I provide a ‘hands on’ approach and support to give the school an employer-led experience for a sustainable school-based careers programme.”
What skills and training programmes do Mi-space offer at Oakfield?
“We’re taking a new approach to this by doing video call presentations for the students, as COVID has meant that we have reduced numbers on site and can’t offer live site visits at the moment. These calls provide an opportunity to explain what careers are available and answer any questions from students at Dorcan Academy - our first one is booked for April.”
“We’re currently looking at how we can adapt our work experience placements to be able to offer live site visits again later in the year. These have been so helpful for students in the past and often lead to paid work and apprenticeships once students have completed their current studies.”
Tell us about why it’s so important to Mi-space to provide jobs and new opportunities for local people and suppliers?
“The construction industry has found it hard to attract young people because they are not aware of the vast number of opportunities available, no matter what academic capability individuals have! As part of the Enterprise Adviser programme we want to spread this message as there really is a role to suit every academic background. We think it’s important to recruit locally, to invest in the local area and attract new talent. When this is the case, for every £1 spent on a construction project, £2-3 is returned into the local economy.”
What can you tell us about the apprenticeship and work experience programme Mi-space run?
“Work placements are tailored to the individual to suit their needs and we’re working with Dorcan and other schools to make this happen. Because of the tailored approach, the individual often comes back for further work experience, or even paid work, as they’ve had a great experience and want to keep building up the skills developed during their placement.
Midas have an annual intake of apprentices and work with our supply chain to encourage them to take on apprentices too. For example Conlon, a local groundworks company that Mi-space has taken on for Oakfield, hires apprentices for groundwork. Apprentices can be any age too, which we think it an important message to get across.”
If you're looking for work or training and would like to find out more, you can take a look at the Midas website, the social media pages of subcontractors or the Government apprentice website to find apprenticeships and work experience. Students can also hear about opportunities through their college.