A secondary school in Hexham held its first summit to prepare its students for the workforce.

The Employer Summit by Queen Elizabeth High School (QEHS) saw businesses provide ideas on how the school could work with the industry to ensure their students are well prepared for the demands of the work place.

Andrew Hedley, assistant headteacher (personal development) at QEHS, said: "I was delighted to welcome everyone to QEHS to start this project. It was great to see so many business leaders, employers and employees willing to give up their time to help us to shape our future employer engagement strategy.

"At QEHS we are determined that every student should have a carefully considered career pathway to follow when they leave us: whether that is at 16 or 18 years of age.

Hexham Courant: (From left to right) Graeme Atkins,Sarah Brunskill, Rachel Cosgrove, Peter Cosgrove, Cathy Bates,

"The expertise and experience of current employers will play a crucial role in helping us to achieve that.”

Supported by the North East LEP, the summit was QEHS introduce employers to its new strategy of fostering direct relationships with businesses to meet the demands of the swiftly evolving job market.

The programme was run in conjunction with the LEP's Enterprise Adviser Network, an initiative that matches schools with trained employers to support the progression of the school’s career provisions.

Micheal Thewlis, primary care commissioning manager workforce lead (Northumberland), at NHS North East and North Cumbria, who was one of the employer at the event, said: "We are keen to support those from backgrounds where they have a number of additional barriers they need to address in order to participate in the labour market – be that socio-economic background, gender, race, religion/belief, disability etc."

Matt Joyce, regional lead for North East Ambition at the North East LEP, said: "We’re thrilled that Queen Elizabeth High School has initiated this work.

"Having employers at the heart of education is hugely important and, for young people, encounters with employers and experiences of the workplace, can have a significant impact on their career choices.

"We are here to support any employer who wants to start engaging with their local education establishments and encourage them to contact us."

The school is actively seeking more enterprise collaborators and encourages prospective participants to contact them directly.

Further information about joining the Enterprise Adviser initiative can be found at goodcareers@nelep.co.uk.