Shape My City Applications Now Open

Designed to encourage young people to think about the city around them, Shape my City is the The Architecture Centre’s year-round programme engaging 15-19 year olds in design and place-making.

Challenging young people to consider who different places are designed for, why the city is how it is, and who contributed to making it that way, Shape my City is a brilliant opportunity for young people to get involved with industry professionals and to gain new knowledge, skills and confidence. Shape My City is targeted at girls and young people from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, but is open to anyone who is interested in finding out more about design and place-making.

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 Participation in the project gives young people an opportunity to:

  • work with and learn from built environment/design professionals and university students
  • achieve Arts Award accreditation
  • gain valuable experience to enhance college/university applications
  • connect with other young people across the city
  • co-produce a creative public event

The project aims to:

  • develop knowledge and skills about design, public art, landscaping, sustainability, planning, heritage and citizenship in young people
  • develop understanding and appreciation of the art form of architecture and the impact it has on people’s lives

The Architecture Centre has a record of supporting diversity and equality in placemaking, through programmes such as Shape My City, which delivers on the City’s ‘Bristol Works’ initiative, to provide good quality work related experience for all young people across the city, a key priority of mine’Marvin Rees, Bristol Mayor

Learn more about the specific project work that has already taken place by watching this video Or, download Hani’s Story to find out how being part of Shape My City can have a meaningful impact on young people’s futures. Shape my City’s project blog is also a great way of finding out more about the meaningful impact the programme has.

Applications for the next programme, commencing in March 2018, open today! You can download the application form and find out more on their website.

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Bristol Cathedral Choir School increases student access to industry

The Cathedral Schools Trust Premium Partners scheme offers a systematic and effective way for employers to engage with Bristol Cathedral Choir School and its students. Premium Partners for Schools, established 5 years ago, has benefited students all across Bristol through a range of quality interactions with local businesses.

Recognised as the South West regional winner and sole runner up nationally for best business-education partnership by the British Chamber of Commerce in 2015 & 2016, as well as recognition from Ofsted and the CBI, Premium Partners for Schools is said to be at the cutting edge of employer engagement for young people.

The key to its success is robust and meaningful relationships with local businesses and the bespoke manner in which they can work with schools. Premium Partners for Schools have a number of dynamic projects currently taking place, all focussed on supporting young people to develop key employability skills that both they and businesses need.

One way that Bristol Cathedral Choir School is connecting students with employers is through networking breakfasts where employers from various sectors have the opportunity to engage with students so they can learn about job roles, progression pathways and the skills needed to be successful.

One Y12 student said  “It has shown me that the importance of contacts cannot be understated, and that social skills are one of the most important aspects of employment.”

The school is most interested in relationships with employers that allow them to build sustainable  projects that can be embedded into the curriculum, ensuring that they have meaning for the young people involved.

You can read more about how to get involved with Cathedral Schools Trust Premium Partners at


Experience of Work - how Bristol 24/7 does it. ​​​​​​​

Traditional Placements

Bristol24/7, one of Bristol’s leading publications to find out what’s happening across Bristol with news, features, what’s on listings and everything in between.

With 86% of the young people they have worked with saying that the placement helped them make decisions about their future careers, they believe that creating meaningful work experience opportunities is invaluable to young people. To date they have provided work experience for over 200 young people at Bristol24/7 HQ. The editorial team work closely with their work experience placements to make sure that they have a working understanding of the journalistic process and they endeavour to make sure that their content is published on the website.

One young person said that their placement was “A really fun, insightful experience into a varied, exciting job. This week has shown me that it is possible to have a successful career in writing. Students are often pushed into careers that are purely going to make them money, but Bristol 24/7 has shown me that it is possible to do something which you truly enjoy.”

Not only do Bristol 24/7 offer traditional work experience placements, but they also aim to design creative opportunities for young people to learn new skills and showcase their talents in the city.

Inspiring the next generation of chefs

Following the launch of EatDrink24/7, Bristol’s first truly independent food and drink guide, Bristol 24/7 embarked on a new project to inspire the next generation of chefs. In early November they launched the Bristol24/7 young chefs programme in partnership with Square Food Foundation.

The aim of the programme, which culminated in the Bristol24/7 Autumn Feast, was to provide real life culinary experience alongside some of the city’s star chefs. Upon completion of the programme, the team of young people, aged 16-25, were to be offered placement and apprenticeship opportunities at leading Bristol establishments.

Sam Sohn-Rethel, co-owner of Bellita and former chef at Bell’s Diner, “I’m very happy to be joining Bristol24/7 and Square Food Foundation in this project – it’s exactly the sort of thing that the Bristol restaurant industry needs.”

Find out more about the Autumn Feast event here.




The next steps

  • Bristol 24/7 have been working closely with UWE, Bristol and will be working on more collaborative projects with tier support next year. Watch this space...

  • The organisation are looking to hold a longer 12-week young chefs programme next year in collaboration with the Square Food Foundation.

  • 2018 is the year of engineering and Bristol24/7 is looking to role out a project to inspire the next generation of engineers. They will be working with key industry leaders to produce valuable experiences of work with a particular focus on encouraging girls into STEM led careers.


GKN Aerospace goes Live with Work Experience Programme

GKN Aerospace, one of the committed employers who have pledged to Bristol WORKS, have gone live with their work experience programme and are accepting applications now.

Aiming to provide young people with an insight into the world of work through a structured, supported programme, GKN has many opportunities for placements throughout 2018.

1 week placements are scheduled throughout the year and are available on the following dates:


•          Week commencing  5th March

•          Week commencing  19th March


•          Week commencing  9th April

•          Week commencing  23rd April


•          Week commencing  7th May

•          Week commencing  21st May


•          Week commencing  4th June

•          Week commencing  18th June


•          Week commencing  2nd July

•          Week commencing  16th July

If you’re a budding engineer, or you work with young people that would benefit from understanding more about what GKN does and how it operates, then application forms can be found here.

The South West Skills Show

On 3 November, at the UWE Conference and Exhibition Centre, The South West Skills Show hosted the largest employer-led skills and careers event in the South West.

The show, free to attend, aimed to provide a stage for young people, and those within their sphere of influence, the opportunity to ‘have a go’ at a range of work related skills and speak to employers from all over the South West, many with global operations. It offered visitors the chance to look at specific careers, talk to people already doing the jobs, and gain a complete understanding of the routes into employment or further education.

For employers and sponsors, the show provided an opportunity to showcase their businesses and industry to local young people, meeting and shaping the employees of the future.

Bristol WORKS attended the event, along with Bristol 24/7, one of our pledge employers, to talk to young people about their experiences of work. It was a great way to gain insight into young people’s opinions of experiences of work whilst at school. One student, 16 year-old Mohamed, said

“ Before my work experience, I thought there was only one way - three A Levels I might not enjoy and then Uni. Now, after work experience, I have an awareness of how to have a career out of something I enjoy!”

Find out more news and case studies from The South West Skills Show on their website.

West of England Mentoring - Sharing Good Practice

Working in collaboration with Ablaze Educational Charity, boomsatsuma, WORKS delivery partner, have created a promotional video that aims to share the good practice of West of England Mentoring.

With government support, WEM aims to bring business mentors together with teenagers as they prepare for their GCSEs. Their programmes of 6 sessions over approximately 12 weeks, each have a specific focus. Groups of 6 to 8 adult mentors work together support and guide up to 20 students thinking about their future.

Watch the video to find out more about the great work that is going on around the city.

Job Fairs in Bristol

The North Bristol Job Fair was held on 27 September at Horfield jobcentre. A total of 681 visitors went to talk to the 34 employers offering jobs throughout North Bristol and South Gloucestershire. The employers that attended the fair included Angard (for Royal Mail), Greggs, M&S, MoD, Southmead Hospital and Warburtons. In addition, there were 13 organisations including N-Gaged Training, National Careers Service, The Prince’s Trust and Workzone offering training and support for anyone who needed it.

The City Hall Job Fair was held on 19 October where 701 visitors spoke to 45 employers including Blue Arrow, Costa Coffee, DHL/The Range, Tesco, Travelodge and Unit Movements.  In addition, the fair included organisations to support those who were not quite job-ready, including Carers Support Service, the Community Learning team, Himilo Training, and Step Together.

Both job fairs had a real buzz in the air as visitors appreciated the opportunity to talk directly to the employers about the jobs on offer.  Many took advantage of the supported opportunity to apply for the jobs they wanted before they left.

There is still one more job fair left this year which will be held at Junction 3 Library on 1 November.  This one is unique to the others as it will be entirely focused on the huge range of opportunities available in the Health and Care sector in Bristol.

The Job Fair planning group includes Bristol City Council’s Ways2Work team, the DWP, National Careers Service, N-Gaged and the local colleges, and plans are now in action for for 2018.  These include the regular South Bristol Job Fair at Hengrove and a Catering and Hospitality focused event at The Bristol hotel.  The Job Fair planning group are also starting to plan a new event which will be a combined Job Fair for all the employers at Bristol Airport. This will take place in the centre of Bristol at City Hall and Bristol WORKS looks forward to hearing all about it!


A Bristol green partnership that WORKS for everyone.

In an exciting collaboration with Bristol WORKS, Bristol Green Capital Partnership has committed to supporting this new initiative to harness the expertise of the sustainability community of Bristol, diversify employer involvement, and help develop a skilled workforce with aspirations for a sustainable Bristol with a high quality of life for all.  

One of Mayor Marvin Rees’ manifesto pledges was to deliver experience of work and the opportunity of an apprenticeship for every young person who wants one. Bristol WORKS, through a model of collaborative working, is one way that this is happening.

Part of the Bristol Learning City Partnership, WORKS is building a unique collaboration between employers, learning providers and local communities to develop a skilled local workforce. Their aim is to offer bespoke experience of work programmes created with schools, based on the needs of young people. This could involve a range of different opportunities, from hosting workshops and assemblies, offering mentorships and site visits, to work placements within organisations.  

Research suggests that young adults who had four or more experiences of work while at school are five times more likely to engage in further education, employment and training. They earn, on average, 16% more than their peers who had no such experiences. However, not all young people are able to access such opportunities.

Bristol Green Capital Partnership, with a diverse range of over 800 member organisations from the city’s private, public and third sectors, adds value to the Bristol WORKS initiative and increases choices for young people in Bristol. By offering meaningful experiences of environmental sustainability-related work, WORKS and Bristol Green Capital Partnership will help to equip future generations with the passion and skills that will enable them to help create a more sustainable Bristol with a high quality of life for all.

Mayor Marvin Rees is thrilled with the collaboration, stating: “We are delighted to be working with the Green Capital Partnership to encourage more environmentally sustainable businesses to pledge their support for the WORKs programme. Organisations can get involved in many different ways to offer valuable experiences of work for young people. I hope that many businesses will want to join us in nurturing Bristol’s future workforce and levelling the playing field for students across the city.”

Ian Townsend, Chief Executive of Bristol Green Capital Partnership, said “Our shared Partnership vision is of a sustainable, low carbon Bristol with a high quality of life for all. But our sustainable future will depend on having an ambitious workforce skilled up to address the environmental challenges we will face. By offering meaningful work experience to Bristol’s schoolchildren, who may otherwise not have access to such opportunities, Partnership members will make a real difference, inspiring and equipping our future sustainability leaders.”




Bristol City Council's 'Meet the Providers' Event

The annual ‘Meet the Providers’ event was held at City Hall on the 26th September.  Hosted by Bristol City Council, the event was an opportunity for staff, professionals, parents and carers to meet a range of Post -16 providers and learn more about how to support young people they work with, care for, or support.

With a diverse range of Post -16 education and training options, beyond that of traditional Sixth Form offers,  the ‘Meet the Providers’ event delivered school staff, foster and kinship carers, who are supporting Year 11 students, information about the range of options available. Bristol City Council believes this is important when supporting Year 11 students to make informed Post-16 choices. This is particularly pertinent as young people start to make applications over the coming months.

The event also provided professionals working with young people, who are yet to enrol in a relevant pathway, with up-to-date information. As the coming months are essential in terms of assessing offers and making decisions, the additional support facilitated by the event is invaluable. In addition to this, the event offered a platform to providers who can offer support to young people who are not quite ready to engage in anything full time.

In many cases, young people discover that the Sixth Form provision they opted for is not for them. The ‘Meet the Providers’ event also supported young people to ‘swap, don’t drop’. By supporting young people to transfer to other provision in the city, they avoid becoming ‘NEET’. One way this is done is by including providers that have offers that start throughout the academic year, demonstrating to young people that it’s never too late.

For more information about the diverse range of offers from around the city, take a look the Bristol Post-16 Directory.


Social Mobility Round Table in Bristol

Bristol WORKS’ employer partner, GENeco, were asked to present information on their exciting, new work experience programme ‘Ignite’.  Information was provided on the student's perceptions of how their soft skills improved after participating in the programme.  Marked improvements were recorded in all areas: communication, teamwork, presentation skills, organisational and problem solving.

Employers such as Bristol 24/7, Bristol Airport, Hargreaves Lansdown, SKANSKA and UWE attended the social mobility round table discussion, hosted by Mr Johnstone and the Bristol Mayor, Marvin Rees at City Hall.  

Attendees were asked to consider:

‘What opportunities are there for employers, educators, local Government and communities to work together to increase social mobility?’

‘How can access and progression be addressed?’

‘What needs to happen to make this sustainable in this region?’

The discussions highlighted the immense good-will of employers in Bristol but also emphasised the need for further work to develop ideas. All parties agreed that it was only the start of the conversation and the Social Mobility Foundation, along with Bristol WORKS, are looking forward to seeing how this progresses.