Youth Council’s WORKS Resources Revealed

Earlier this month, Bristol City Youth Council’s ‘What Next?’ campaign group visited boomsatsuma to create some engaging resources for the WORKS website. Read about their visit here.

They were challenged with creating some material that was accessible for their peers. They also wanted to outline the aims of the Bristol WORKS initiative and offer some advice and guidance in an engaging way.

Supported by the technicians at boomsatsuma, the Bristol City Youth Council team were able to produce three video blogs and a leaflet that will all soon be accessible on the young person's section of the website. 

Watch all three video blogs below

In addition to the video blogs, they also produced a downloadable leaflet about experience of work for their peers. The hope with this resource was that it would prompt young people to consider why thinking about their futures is important and offer some guidance about the steps to take.  

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WORKS would like to say a big thank you to the team at the Youth Council for their collaboration and creativity. 

Engine Shed on Tour with Ashton Park

Today saw the second of Engine Shed on Tour's visits to innovative organisations around the city. Bristol WORKS partner school, Ashton Park, saw their team of iMedia students set off on a tour of the various organisations that work at Engine Shed, including their members and associates at Temple Studios and Boxworks.  


The 6 students from Ashton Park and the 2 students from boomsatsuma's Media Production Diploma course, used state of the art equipment to film the tours so that the resources can be used by the school, the organisations and shared with their primary schools in the second phase of the project. Engine Shed will also host all films on their website so that anyone can access the career resources and learn more about creativity in the city.


Ashton Park students are due for another tour later in this academic term with all students involved visiting their feeder primary schools to share the rare access they experienced and show them how to use the equipment. 

City Academy, Merchants Academy and Orchard School will be touring with Engine Shed and boomsatsuma over the next two months. 

Bristol City Council's Work Experience Programme

In order to support a diverse future work force and continue to help to remove barriers to meaningful experiences of work for young people, Bristol City Council has developed a new programme of traditional work placements. 

The placements are based at various locations around the city and are being offered to all Bristol WORKS schools, Ashton Park, City Academy, Merchants Academy and Orchard School. The council's new programme aims to demonstrate the diverse nature of the council's work. With placements in a variety of departments from Bristol Family Cycle Centre to Public Relations to the Mayor's office, Bristol City Council hope there is something for everyone. 

Bristol WORKS Project Manager, Karen Blong, organised the programme of placements. 

"Bristol City Council’s new programme of traditional work placements aims to offer students from WORKS partner school dynamic and fulfilling experiences. 

A programme of activity has been created that demonstrates the diverse work that takes place at the council, whilst empowering students to take ownership of their own projects and being immersed in a team of professionals. 

As part of the new programme, students will work in teams with a work placement mentor who will set the student a real work challenge.  Students will also participate in group employability sessions, exploring different job sectors and interview skills as well as receiving information from the Bristol Apprenticeship Service about the new apprenticeship opportunities that are currently being developed following the introduction of the apprenticeship levy. Students will be asked to keep a diary of their experience which will they be created into a blog at the end of the week."

By offering the students a taster of real-life challenges whilst supporting them to improve their employability skills and reflect on their experiences, Bristol City Council are hoping that other organisations will follow suit. This model aims to demonstrate that meaningful experiences of work can be embedded into regular working practices and help to develop a skilled local workforce.  


Catalyse Change to host its second bootcamp

Catalyse Change will host its second annual ‘Catalyst Bootcamp’ in Bristol this summer. The three-day residential event is held at Bristol University on 1 – 3 August 2018, for girls and young women who want to be confident and resilient changemakers.

The transformational educational programme helps young females to:

  • Build their sustainability knowledge and the educational and career opportunities available

  • Builds understanding of your personality strengths and interests

  • Learn tools for improving confidence and resilience

  • Meet inspiring women working in the low-carbon economy and hear their stories

  • An opportunity to meet a mentor who will support your pathway into a Green Career.


The Catalyst Bootcamp is for young women who want to make a positive difference in the world but aren’t quite sure how to go about it.

“During the course of our 2017 Catalyst Bootcamp, we saw an increase from 54.5% to 100% in girls who identified themselves as having the potential to make a positive difference in the world – we think that’s pretty special.” Said organiser Traci Lewis.

In a fast changing job market, participants will benefit from training in the ‘softer’ but essential skills for employability, including; team working, problem solving and clearer communication.  There will also be an opportunity for longer-term mentoring from inspiring women from different sustainability sectors, to provide additional support to help you achieve your goals.

Organiser Traci Lewis explains, ‘We are really excited to be hosting the Catalyst Bootcamp again at the beautiful Clifton Hill House, Bristol University student residence. The event provide a unique and inspiring learning opportunity for young women to get a taste of career opportunities and pathways in the Green or Low-Carbon economy and the inspiration and tools you need to succeed within it.’

There is  also a competition running with opportunity for young women to win a free place by stating in no more than 100 words or with a 1-min video or image explain; ‘Why I Want to Be a Catalyst for Change’ #Catalyst4Change. 


There are also bursary places available on application - supported by Big Lottery - providing free places for young women from disadvantaged and low-income backgrounds.  

Early Bird tickets available until 31st March. To reserve your place visit


Bristol City Youth Council Have Their Say

Bristol WORKS delivery partner, boomsatsuma, welcomed Bristol City Youth Council’s ‘What’s Next?’ campaign group to Engine Shed yesterday. The aim of the visit was to harness the intelligence and creativity of the group and make some engaging resources for the WORKS website.

WORKS has been in consultation with the group to ensure that the initiative is in line with their agenda, too. With work experience high on their list of priorities, WORKS wanted to ensure that the campaign group had their say.


Working to a brief of offering their peers advice and guidance about how best to gain experience of work and why it’s important, the Youth Council team worked together to produce video blog posts and a downloadable leaflet for the website. In two teams, assisted by boomsatsuma staff, they scripted, filmed and edited the vlog posts and planned, designed and created the leaflet, not only allowing their voices to be heard but also equipping them with transferable production skills.


See the results of their session on the website soon.

WORKS sees Engine Shed go on Tour with boomsatsuma

boomsatsuma, WORKS delivery partner, have teamed up with Engine Shed to create a series of innovative 360 degree films exploring the diversity of Bristol’s work spaces.

The project, called Engine Shed On Tour, will see a mobile editing suit which is fully kitted out with filming and production equipment, make 16 stops around schools in the region, giving young people the chance to create short films about digital career opportunities.

boomsatsuma will staff the bus with technicians as it makes its journey around the region. They will apply their expertise in delivering projects to inspire young people, offering them unique creative experiences, and helping develop skills to apply in tech and digital careers.


Mark Curtis, Creative Director of boomsatsuma said:

“We’re delighted to see our vision come to life. The Engine Shed on Tour brings boomsatsuma’s creative, educational, and film production skills together to inspire young people across the region. The bus will be fitted with state of the art equipment to build awareness around careers in sectors that may not seem accessible to children from all backgrounds.”

Engine Shed’s vision is to increase long-term, inclusive, sustainable economic growth by working with teachers and young people to support a diverse workforce for the future, and open sectors to future employees from wide ranging socioeconomic backgrounds.

Engine Shed Director Nick Sturge said:

“At Engine Shed, we celebrate innovation, collaboration, and diversity – and there’s nowhere better for us to champion this than within schools. Young people are the future, and Engine Shed on Tour will drive the desire and opportunities for young people to develop their skills in high technology sectors, resulting in high level recruitment in these industries for the South West, which is one of our integral goals. Diverse teams – whether at board level or at product-development level inevitably lead to better results and we hope that this project not only increases the long-term pipeline of diverse talent abut also raises the encourages employers to embrace diversity. We are also thrilled to be working with our friends at boomsatsuma, who bring professionalism, energy and creativity to life in projects such as this.”

The Engine Shed on Tour bus will make 16 stops between April and July 2018, collaborating with all WORKS target schools and 4 others in the region to offer young people from all backgrounds rare access to high-tech, digital, creative and innovative work places. Up to 12 young people from each school will tour two work places, learning about job roles, objectives and outcomes. Whilst doing so, they’ll be filming content that they will edit on location on the bus. Once the content has been created, the exciting 360 degree career resource can be used by the organisation and the secondary school.

The second part of the project sees the bus visit the feeder primary schools where secondary school students will teach year 5 and 6 students how to use the equipment and share their experiences of the organisations with more young people, extending the projects reach and supporting the schools’ transition programmes.

Bristol WORKS will see Engine Shed on Tour work with Ashton Park students on Friday 13th of April with more dates booked in the coming weeks.

The Future of Work up for discussion at Bristol's first ever National Career Guidance Show

Yesterday, the National Career Guidance Show was be in Bristol for the first time. As part of the UK’s leading series of free conventions for people passionate about careers, the topic "Future of Work" was be high on the agenda.

Over 500 professionals who work to support the transition of young people and adults into work were expected to attend the event at Ashton Gate Stadium, to meet with employers, colleges, universities, training providers and other organisations that can support their work. 

The convention kicked off with a breakfast networking event hosted by West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles. Prospects Events, the organisers of the National Career Guidance Show series, partnered with the West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership, to present a seminar later in the day titled "local learners and labour markets – The global skills needs of the future." 


Before the event, West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “I’m delighted that this event is coming to our region. It is important that we all work together to ensure that our young people are given the right careers advice so that we are supporting our key sectors with a steady flow of skilled labour in the future.

“The West of England has one of the most highly skilled workforces in the country and is home to around 43,000 businesses, one of the many reasons it’s a great place to live. However, matching the right people to the right jobs, education and training opportunities often relies on the skills and knowledge of career professionals.

“Events such as this help ensure that those professionals have access to the very latest labour market intelligence and understand the rapidly changing needs of the local economy

“The National Career Guidance Show South will also help ensure residents across the West of England have access to high quality career guidance and support to help them achieve their potential and excel in their working lives.”


By 2022, 9 million people with low skills are expected to be competing for 4 million low-skilled jobs, with a shortage of 3 million workers to fill 15 million high-skilled jobs. These figures, as well as the thousands of further education opportunities available and the fact that these options are very different from the choices made by their parents 20-30 years ago means that young people are in desperate need of good careers guidance.

With the long awaited publication of the Government’s new Careers Strategy and statutory guidance, the National Career Guidance Shows act as a one stop shop for careers leaders to access free resources and toolkits all under one roof, aiding the development of their career programmes so that they meet all eight Gatsby benchmarks.

Further seminars at the event will include an update on the Careers Strategy from the Careers and Enterprise Company, and a presentation on the future skills and attributes that employers are looking for by global company KPMG.

Nina Hurst Jones, Events Operations Director at Prospects, the organisers of the National Career Guidance Shows, said: “We understand the importance of young people and adults receiving excellent career guidance from professionals with the right skills, knowledge and experience. That’s why our National Career Guidance Shows allow professionals who play a key role in advising the next generation of workers to access free CPD certified seminars to ensure their knowledge is up-to-date. Our exhibitors are also all on hand to network with our visitors to forge partnerships that will benefit the people our visitors work with.”


With over 490 visitors attending the event yesterday, it was a huge success and raised many interesting questions about effective career strategies in schools and the progress of the future work force.  

Work Experience Week at Bristol Old Vic

The Aim

To offer a real-life, practical, work related experience to 25 young people from across Bristol schools that gives a clear overview of working in a theatre, an understanding of theatre-making and practical workshops delivering skills in marketing, front of house management, fundraising and organisational financial responsibility. Young people will have the opportunity to gain a Bronze Arts Award qualification.

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The Objectives

To recruit a wide range of young people from diverse backgrounds and with a broad set of interests through advertising and interview process.

The project builds on a long period of work deepening the theatre's understanding of, and approach to, diversity in the city of Bristol. Bristol Old Vic thinks about diversity in the widest possible sense, from babies to over-25s, from gender to deafness, from ethnicity to autism and they have a well-established education and outreach operation working on the ground with every single one of the 35 wards of Bristol City Council - a hugely mixed, and in many cases, hard-to-reach, population. Additionally, through the restoration of their 18th century building (the oldest working theatre in Britain) and our partnership with the Bristol University and the City Archives, they have now been able to develop the heritage riches of their site - a brilliant pathway to reaching young people in and around Bristol.

To source a strong project team who can inspire and mentor young people through the process.

At the end of 2014, Bristol Old Vic were awarded a Strategic grant and an Exceptional Award, which gave the Company the means to drive through the transformation outlined above. Through this grant they were able to drive new capacity at Senior Management level and five new positions now exist: Executive Producer, Commercial Director, Marketing Director, Development Director and Engagement Director. These five posts compliment the pre-existing roles of Chief Executive, Artistic Director, Finance Director and Production Director. Each of these individuals will be sharing their professional experience and career advice directly with work experience participants through workshops and 1:1 mentoring.

Addressing Social Mobility

Work experience has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of young people. Unfortunately, according to research carried out by Hatcher & Le Gallais in 2008 (Birmingham University: The work experience placements of secondary school students: widening horizons or reproducing social inequality?), all too often work placements tend powerfully to reflect and reproduce patterns of social class inequality with working class kids getting working class placements, and middle class pupils experiencing the benefits of ‘professional placements’.

Work experience is now increasingly essential to securing both university places and graduate jobs, with a 2016 report suggesting employers expect to fill anywhere between a third and half of graduate vacancies with a student who has had previous work experience at their organisation. When over half of placements are found by young people or by their families using largely existing social networks, this can make it increasingly difficult for with those without connections to break into the careers they want.

As an arts organisation, Bristol Old Vic is a highly desirable work placement organisation, and they are often asked to provide ad-hoc work experience weeks for children of associated artists or friends, perpetuating the inequality highlighted above. The Big Work Experience Week proposal directly addresses this, with a targeted response reaching out to young people regardless of their economic or social background. As an organisation which receives funding from Bristol City Council, our strategy aligns closely with the Council’s Corporate Strategy 2017-2022 setting out key commitments, one of which is to ‘deliver work experience and apprenticeships for every young person’.

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The Project to Date

We received over 100 applicants for this programme and shortlisted 35 for interviews. 25 year 10 students have been selected. They are from:

  • Abbeywood School
  • Bradley Stoke Community College
  • Brimsham Green School
  • Bristol Metropolitan Academy
  • Broadoak Mathematics Computing College
  • Clevedon School
  • Cotham School
  • Downend School
  • Fairfield High School
  • John Cabot School
  • Mangotsfield Secondary
  • Merchants’ Academy
  • Oasis Academy John Williams

The group is a made up of a mix of students who have a little or a lot of experience in theatre who are all united by their enthusiasm to learn more about the arts. We look forward to welcoming them into the theatre for a week in July.


Getting children to reach their potential with Career Coach

A new programme was unveiled yesterday (15 March) to help encourage Bristol's children in care to reach their full potential as part of the Career Coach scheme.

The programme pairs school children, primarily from a care or vulnerable background, with inspirational local professionals. In order to find the person best suited to inspire them, the coaches are paired based on their interests and preferred ways of learning. 

Once selected the professionals are then given training to allow them to become coaches and offer a good level of support for the children over the length of the program which lasts for five years.  The aim of the programme is to support these children, who are in year 9 and above, throughout the latter stages of their education and to encourage them to find the career that’s right for them afterwards.

16 adults have currently signed up to the program and come from a wide range of backgrounds from teachers through to working at the BBC.

On Thursday (15 March), the coaches involved in the program began the process of being matched up with looked after children from around the city who will have filled out analytical questionnaires which focused on preferred type of learning, location and interests to decide which coach would be most appropriate.

Tim Holmes, Career Coordinator at Cabot Learning Federation, is a trained coach and has been placed in charge of the project.

He said: “As a trained coach, I have had the privilege to witness children grow and develop through programmes like this.  With a bit of extra support there is proof that we can achieve real results with children giving them an opportunity to develop new skills and confidence to achieve their full potential.  As a coach I find the process of supporting these children and young adults to reach their full potential incredibly rewarding and would recommend it to anyone. We know that there are certain groups of children who consistently under achieve and I hope that this programme will help to offer an extra push for them to achieve their full potential.”

This piece of work has been developed with the help of Cllr Helen Godwin, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, and Cllr Anna Keen, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, as part of the council’s work on the Bristol WORKS project.

Cllr Helen Godwin said: “We have an extra responsibility of care for the 260 looked after children from Bristol at secondary school age.  Unfortunately, through no fault of their own, there can be extra challenges faced by some of them when it comes to their final assessments and finding a career.  We want to address this problem head on and make sure we can offer extra support to help make sure that every child has the opportunity to reach their full potential and feels inspired to enter the world of work.  I am hopeful that by working together with our Learning City partners across Bristol this project will help to offer support to some of the most vulnerable children in our city to succeed.”

The opportunity to become a coach is open to professionals across the city.  If you are interested in being involved and to find out if you qualify for the accolade make sure you contact the Bristol WORKS team via email at

What Women Say

As it was International Women’s Day this week, Bristol WORKS thought it was an opportune time to use some of our WORKS resources to promote positive female role models and give some insight into the work place from their perspectives.

Here, Bristol City Council’s very own Jane Taylor, discusses her perspective on experience of work and her own journey to where she is now.

Sally Apps is the Principle of Bristol Metropolitan Academy. Hear her perspectives below. 

With the support of boomsatsuma, The National Careers Service made a short film that aimed to banish stereotypes based on gender and offer careers advice and guidance to young women. They wanted the film to support young women to be inspired, confident and ready to make the most of their future career.

Bristol WORKS is committed to removing barriers to meaningful experiences of work for all young people, regardless of background or gender.