Awards to celebrate Own Grown success

BUSINESSES and employers are meeting next month to celebrate the success of the Own Grown campaign.

The 1066 Own Grown Awards will be held on Thursday, November 14 and will commend those firms who have contributed to the initiative, which was launched in February.

The year-long campaign aims to get 1,066 pledges made by businesses to help young people in a variety of ways enter work and make them more employable, such as work placements, CV writing and help starting a new business.

All entrants, businesses and the people they have supported are welcome at the ‘free to attend’ awards ceremony, which starts at 6.30pm at Sussex Coast College in Station Plaza.

The 1066 Own Grown judges will be looking for evidence where businesses have offered quality work experiences, training and/or advice. Entrants should highlight the positive impacts their activity has had in terms of employment and/or improving people’s skills and opportunities for gaining employment. Entries should be no more than 150 words and the closing date is Friday, November 1.

Shortlisted nominees for each category will know in advance and the winners will be announced on the night.

The award categories and sponsors are as follows:

1. Best large business (50 employees+) - 1066 Jobs.com

2. Best medium-sized business (10-49 employees) - Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce

3. Best small business (less than 10 employees) - Hastings Direct

4. Best charity/social enterprise – Round Table

5. Best example of 14- to 16-year-old to the programme - Rother District Council

6. Best example of 17- to 18-year-old to the programme - Federation of Small Businesses

7. Best example of 19- to 21-year-old to the programme - Brighton University

8. Best example of someone aged 22+ to the programme - Hastings Borough Council

9. Overall best example of Own Grown to be chosen from the eight category winners - Sussex Coast College

Martin Searle, development manager, FSB East Sussex, said: “The 1066 branch of the FSB supports Own Grown because we want young people and the unemployed to add value to the prosperity of local businesses. It is important that people are given and take advantage of work-related opportunities to improve their job prospects and perhaps one day run their own business.”

Dan Shelley, vice principal of Sussex Coast College, said: “Links between employers and education providers such as ourselves are critical if we are to equip young people with the right skills for local jobs or encourage them to start their own businesses.

“We have opportunities for employers to support Own Grown activities each month be it a couple of hours of interview practice or a work placement or apprenticeship.”

Jonathan Dolding, manager of Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s vital that businesses play their part in linking with education and offer the next generation of talent real and meaningful experiences of the world of work. There have been some great success stories where our members have taken a work experience placement that has led on to full-time employment, benefitting both the young person and the businesses.”

Ian Noble, business connector from Business in the Community (BITC), said: “One of the very first meetings of my secondment to BITC was an introduction to Own Grown. Since then, I’ve been delighted to be able to support this programme by encouraging businesses to pledge and to connect others to provide pro bono support for the infrastructure.

“There are undoubted benefits to both business and young person to any placement and I’m sure that the coming weeks and months will see many of the existing pledges fulfilled.”

Carole Dixon, chief executive of the Education Futures Trust, said: “We are keen to support the 1066 Own Grown Awards, as the project embodies all that the trust strives to achieve. Not only is Own Grown about working to improve life chances for local young people, but it promotes collaborative working to maximise resource.”

David Hinton, managing director of Hastings Works, said: “We love helping local people into local jobs so we’re really pleased to be a part of the Own Grown campaign.”

Entries should be emailed to owngrown@hastings.gov.uk and firms should enter one or more categories appropriate to their pledge.

Anyone wishing to attend next month’s ceremony should log onto https://owngrown.eventbrite.co.uk.

To make a pledge to Own Grown visit www.owngrown.org.uk, email owngrown@hastings.gov.uk or ring 01424 451795.