BEACH (Brighton & Hove Employability Advice and Careers Hut) is a website that was developed to improve young people’s employment chances. It offers employability advice specifically relating to the local situation and was designed for young people, by young people
BEACH is the go-to place for employability advice in Brighton & Hove targeting young people who have also been the driving force behind the service from the outset. The city brought together a group of school students to discuss employability skills, employers’ expectations and barriers to getting a job, and as a result produced a short film. The students then interviewed potential employers around Brighton & Hove to explore employment opportunities and ways to increase their chances of getting a job. All this culminated in a collection of film clips, accessible advice and information available on the BEACH website, which is targeted at students but also used by parents and as a resource for teachers.
Originally published by EUROCITIES, the network of 130 European cities - PDF: http://nws.eurocities.eu/MediaShell/media/Citiesinaction_BEACH_BrightonHove.pdf
This project was awarded the 'EUROCITIES Awards' in 2013 in the following category: Smart jobs.
Like many cities, Brighton & Hove is faced with above average youth unemployment. The city began developing the website in 2011 in response to a legislation change (‘raising the participation age’). This calls for young people to remain in learning (full time school, apprenticeship or employment with training) until the academic year in which they turn 17, and from summer 2015, until their 18th birthday. Brighton & Hove wants to equip its young people with the right skills and knowledge to help them enter the workplace.
The website aims to improve young people’s employment prospects and reduce the number of young people not in employment, education or training (NEET). To keep talent in the city, young people worked specifically with employers from Brighton & Hove’s growth sectors.
In the first development phase the city brought together a group of students to discuss employability skills and expectations. Next, the students interviewed employers from Brighton & Hove’s main employment sectors to find out what they were looking for and what opportunities are out there. Clips from these interviews can be found in the ‘meet some employers’ section of the website. Once the ground work was done, the students brought together the information they had collected and worked with web developers to create the website.
The process also helps engage local employers in young people’s training and development. The BEACH website is used as a teaching resource within schools, but is also accessed independently by students and parents.
A dedicated ‘BEACH patrol’ is responsible for the marketing and dissemination of the website. This is a group of students selected each year to act as ambassadors for BEACH. They travel to job fairs, present in school assemblies and at parents’ evenings and are responsible for developing a marketing plan to increase awareness of BEACH.
BEACH was developed on a budget of €20,000 using grant money allocated to Brighton & Hove by the department for education to support the implementation of the ‘raising the participation age’ policy.
Some services were provided free of charge, such as venue hire and contributors’ time, so the majority of the budget went on film making and web development.
The process began in December 2011 and the website was launched in September 2012. Since then, the BEACH patrol is working towards promoting the website within schools and intends to carry out a survey among teachers to measure the impact BEACH has had on individual schools.
All of Brighton & Hove’s nine secondary schools are using BEACH as a teaching resource, although only six are actively involved in the website’s development. The city is encouraging the remaining three schools to get involved. The plan now is to hold another employer event with a different group of students to develop new videos for BEACH, with the help of local university students studying digital media.
The model is easily replicable in other cities, and has already grabbed the attention of other local authorities. The site includes an ‘about BEACH’ section so cities can find out how the website was developed. A similar site called Take Off is currently under developement in the Gatwick Diamond area.
Cities in action - Careers advice for young people, BEACH - online employability advice - EUROCITIES, February 2014.