A former apprentice who is now one of the North East’s up and coming entrepreneurs is to help forge schoolchildren’s futures after joining a network that aims to bridge the gap between education and employment.
John Savage, managing director of trade supplies firm Flame Heating Spares, has become a member of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (North East LEP’s) Enterprise Adviser network.
The Enterprise Adviser network comprises a group of volunteers from a range of businesses across the region with the aim of facilitating closer links between schools and colleges and the business community by developing effective employer engagement plans. Advisers will work with school and college leaders to offer mentoring, careers advice, training opportunities and placements.
Mr Savage, who was recently short-listed in the prestigious Institute of Directors (IoD) North East Young Director of the Year 2016 award, started out as a warehousing apprentice for a national plumbing merchant before working his way up to become an area manager.
He established Flame in 2011 and has seen it grow from a single branch to become a leading player in the region’s heating and plumbing trade. It now operates six branches throughout the North East and employs more than 20 employees, including apprentices, and plans to launch further branches and double its workforce over the next 12 months.
John said: “I am delighted to become an Enterprise Adviser and support this initiative which will help shape young people’s careers and prepare them for the world of work. I have put in a lot of hard work and been very fortunate in my business career with Flame, so it is great to give back in this way.
“Having been an apprentice myself, I know too well the many benefits and importance of combining education with on-the-job experience, so hopefully I can educate others with the knowledge I have gained over the course of my career.”
Denis Heaney is the North East LEP’s Enterprise Co-ordinator, leading on the project for the region.
Denis said: “We are very excited about our Enterprise Adviser network and the unique opportunity it offers business people. Companies like Flame Heating Spares can become embedded within a school and make a huge difference to students and their future prospects.
“Business leaders like John are going to work closely with head teachers and their senior leadership team to help ensure that careers development, enterprise and employer engagement are a key part of the curriculum. This gives young people unrivalled opportunities to access the world of work and learn about the many different careers they could pursue.”
For more information about the Enterprise Adviser network, visit http://nelep.co.uk/