With COVID-19 continuing to limit the opportunity for traditional “hands-on” work experience, Bentley Motors is embracing digital alternatives and is successfully partnering with social mobility charity Speakers for Schools to deliver a range of virtual work experiences for over 500 young people.
The work experience opportunities, which are available to students across the UK with an interest in STEM topics, focus on a range of areas from Engineering to Digital. The opportunities are being supported by colleagues from Bentley’s diversity and inclusion networks, as part of its Early Careers outreach programme which aims to encourage more girls and students from ethnic minorities to consider careers in the automotive industry.
During the most recent work experience session on digital skills, colleagues from Bentley challenged the students to design their “car of the future”. The winning design was submitted by Year 13 student, Yen Li from Torquay Girls Grammar School. The team at Bentley Motors were particularly impressed by Yen’s innovative approach, inventive design and ability to work quickly and with attention to detail.
Tom Russell, Bentley’s Early Careers Manager, explains:
“The advantage of our virtual work experience programme is that although we are based in Crewe, Cheshire, with the help of Speakers for Schools, we’ve been able to extend opportunities to students from across the country. In our first session, we were able to share insights into automotive and careers at Bentley, with students as far away as Cumbria and Torquay.
“Early Careers outreach is a key part of our diversity and inclusion programme as we aim to highlight the huge range of opportunities within our sector to an increasingly wider range of people – with the goals of filling our future talent pipelines with more diverse candidates in the long-term.
“Yen’s engagement with our Insight programme – and her winning car design – is a fantastic example of how we’ve been able to connect with a student who may not have previously considered Bentley, but who has the potential to excel in our industry.”Tom Russell, Bentley’s Early Careers Manager
Jason Elsom, CEO of Speakers for Schools, said:
“Since March 2020, Speakers for Schools has offered an engaging, virtual platform for young people to access eye-opening career experience. This has become all the more important as the pandemic has slowed in-person work experience opportunities and young people have been prevented from exploring new career paths or connecting directly with employers.
“We are delighted to see top employers like Bentley Motors on board with Speakers for Schools and joining our mission to end educational inequality. We hope more employers join our virtual work experience programme and more schools sign up to broaden the horizons of young people across the UK.”Jason Elsom, CEO of Speakers for Schools
Yen Li, aged 18, from Torquay, Devon, said:
“I would never have found work experience with Bentley Motors without Speakers for Schools and I really enjoyed learning about the business. The car design challenge was exciting and I am delighted to have won and to receive the 3D modeL.”Yen Li, aged 18, from Torquay, Devon
Gordon Neighbour, Careers Leader, Torquay, Devon, said “Having these opportunities through Speakers for Schools is really allowing us to show our students the world of work that exists beyond the school – I am delighted that Yen Li had such an amazing opportunity with Bentley, as prior to this we would have struggled to gain such a valuable placement.”
Schools, parents and employers can find out more about the 500 places available at www.speakers4schools.org
More information about Bentley’s Early Career programmes can be found at https://careers.bentleymotors.com/content/Early-Careers/