Careers & Enterprise Company invests in Creative Café to bring the world of work to life for young people in Hastings

12 June 2018

The Careers & Enterprise Company has announced funding for 12 Creative Cafés for Hastings schools and colleges, funded through the Hastings Opportunity Area Fund.

These Creative Cafés will provide young people in Hastings with a chance to connect with employers and learn about the world of work, and are designed to improve social mobility.

The 12 Cafés are funded by the Hastings Opportunity Areas Fund, intended to help young people in the region prepare for the fast-changing world of work. Funds have been allocated to programmes that can demonstrate their effectiveness in working with the young people in greatest need of support.

In total, the investment will support 21 organisations across the country delivering tried and tested programmes to over 143,000 young people that focus on careers and enterprise activities, including work experience, enterprise education, volunteering and skills development.

The Creative Café programme, developed by Culture Shift, provides a high energy, informal setting in which young people can connect with employers, gain insights into their world of work and develop the confidence, skills and motivation. All of this is critical in helping them make decisions about their future lives.  Creative Cafés are unusual in that they offer young people a chance to find out what local employers do through actually doing stuff together.  For many young people this access to people and their working lives is hard to come by.

Culture Shift set up the Creative Café programme in 2012, initially to connect young people with those working in the creative sector. However, the model has proved so effective the events now work with employers across all sectors.  Culture Shift have run over 50 Creative Cafes since 2012, engaging over 200 employers and accommodating anything between 20 and 90 young people at any event.  Many of these have taken place in Hastings.

As one teacher from Hastings Academy said:

It’s been unique in my experience. We have had days when a wide range of external providers have been in, but these invariably water down what it is they (as a company do) as the ratio of staff to pupils is very high. These events have been 1:10, and have enabled pupils to really engage with the providers on a much more individual level.

Catherine Orbach, Director Culture Shift, said of the investment:

To be selected as a key provider for this programme is a real validation for the programme. We are keen to hear from any employers who would be up for volunteering a half day to take part in one of our Creative Cafes. It is a great way to offer something positive to young people in the town.

CEO of The Careers & Enterprise Company, Claudia Harris, said of the programme:

I am delighted that we have been able to invest £1.5 million to support proven careers and enterprise programmes across the second wave of Opportunity Areas. The Opportunity Areas remain a primary focus in our ongoing work to tackle social mobility. With young people needing at least one employer encounter per year whilst still at schools or college, this funding will go a long way to helping providers and schools prepare them for their futures.


If you are able to volunteer half a day of your time to take part in a Creative Cafe, please get in contact.