Skills 30:30, a free workshop that brings business owners and entrepreneurs into schools to meet students has now reached 1,000 participants.

FSB Kent Skills Lead, Paul Andrews, says, “We started this as a one-off a few years ago, as businesses were telling us it was really hard to find the right staff. They also didn’t believe the younger generation had the soft skills they were looking for. However, the format worked and schools kept inviting us back. We are delighted now that 1,000 businesses and students have taken part in a Skills 30:30 event. These workshops break down barriers and give students direct insight into the world of work. The results speak for themselves; both students and firms really benefit from taking part.”

FSB Kent Area Leader, Deborah Turner, says, “We believe that more needs to be done to improve the quality and impartiality of careers advice, information and guidance for young people. Skills 30:30 does just this, by encouraging direct input from local firms. We are delighted that so many Kent businesses have volunteered their time for these events and look forward to many more!”

Skills 30:30 is a free, two hour session held in a school for students in Years 10 to 12. One hour is spent running a workshop for 30 students about the skills needed in the world of work, while 30 businesses network in a nearby classroom. Then both groups of students and businesses get together for facilitated speed-networking. The speed networking enables students to meet a wide range of different business owners face-to-face; to gain valuable contacts and to increase their self-confidence.

FSB works closely with a range of local and national organisations on these workshops. Representatives from the Careers and Enterprise Company; Leigh Academies Trust; Kent Supported Employment and LinkedIn are regular participants. Results of Skills 30:30 events include business owners finding part time staff; offers of work experience placements to students; and local managers and the self-employed becoming Enterprise Advisors.

FSB Kent and Medway is now encouraging this free workshop format to be adopted by schools and businesses across the south east.

FACTS – Small business and the skills gap

  • Half (50%) of small businesses say that technical skills are the most important skill for achieving future business growth. Skilled trade occupations, such as IT engineers, chefs and construction workers, have been most affected, which is worrying given that technical skills are the most important skill-set to achieving future growth
  • Over half (52%) of small firms have recruited in the last 12 months. Of these, nearly a third (30%) have faced skills shortages.
  • Almost half (46%) of small businesses lack full proficiency within their workforce, and are therefore experiencing skills gaps.

Future Skills 3030 dates

Kent business owners, managers and the self-employed are welcome to take part in these upcoming Skills 30:30 events:

3 July, St. George Church of England Foundation School, Broadstairs

26 September, Hayesbrook School, Tonbridge

20 November, Longfield Academy, Dartford