Business network creates job opportunities for young people

BUSINESSES throughout Blackpool are opening more doors for young people seeking employment by pooling their expertise.

Fylde Coast Responsible Business Network (RBN) is a group made up of a growing number of business leaders passionate about supporting local people into jobs, and network members are reporting great success in providing employment opportunities on their doorstep.

Website design and software development agency, Code Galaxy, based in Blackpool, joined the volunteer-led RBN to give something back to its community, and has taken part in network initiatives such as Cyber Girls First – a project to encourage more females into technology jobs.

Director Mary Speakman and the team at Code Galaxy are members of the Fylde Coast Responsible Business Network. Members of the Code Galaxy team, pictured from left to right, are Creative Director Mary Speakman, Technical Director Nicky Speakman, Software Engineers Tim Followes and Phillip Lake, and Business Manager Sarah Moynes.

Mary Speakman, a director at Code Galaxy, said the RBN has helped her business spread the word to a larger audience of prospective employees, and has played a pivotal role in helping to encourage more people to forge careers in the local area.

She said: “When young people start to think about their careers, they typically think about seasonal jobs, but they never really see the more corporate sector and the private businesses which also provide long term career options. Young people are then seeking employment in cities and moving away from the resort, which is an issue for employers looking to recruit talent in Blackpool.

“So what is good for the businesses in the RBN is that they can showcase all they have to offer as career prospects and work with young people to promote local employment opportunities.

“A lot of RBN members have gone into schools and given talks to pupils – the future workforce – and are sharing their inspirational stories and letting people know that there are opportunities locally.

“There’s many success stories within the network where people who have been in the position of the young people have moved on to higher positions. I failed my IT exam when I was at school and I didn’t get into computers until much later, but now I have my own digital business
so it’s a way of showing the young people that anything is possible.”

Mary was full of praise for Fylde Coast RBN for providing the opportunities to connect with local young people, and said the Cyber Girls First initiative was a great way of engaging with young females who may not have considered digital and technology as a career option.

The industry is heavily male-dominated, but Code Galaxy and others are looking to break down barriers.

Mary said: “In Europe, there’s only five per cent of female leaders in technology so we are not well represented at all. Misconceptions about tech can cause some women to overlook the opportunities that are available.

“But from my perspective, there are a lot of roles that are part of the industry that require input from the female workforce. For devices and programs to be built for everyone, there can’t be one gender dominating the tech sector. Having worked in the technology sector for over four
years now, I know that despite common perception, the tech industry isn’t just for ‘geeks’ or ‘gamers’ – it is an innovative and creative sector that is skyrocketing.”

As membership numbers continue to grow, Fylde Coast RBN is looking for more companies from the local area to come onboard and share their specialisms with young people to help them get into employment.

Other digital and technology firms would be welcomed to complement the work of Code Galaxy within the network, as well as business from other sectors.

Michelle Walker, the RBN’s project manager, said: “We aim to inspire people and get them into the world of work, and we are so thankful for the excellent support we get from local businesses.

“We connect with hundreds of local young people, and the fantastic businesses we have in Blackpool and across the Fylde Coast inspire them with the outstanding work they carry out in their local area.

“We love working with these businesses and always welcome new members looking to help our local people into work, and we would love more businesses to get in touch and get involved with what we do here at the RBN.”

The Fylde Coast RBN was created, and continues to be supported, by the Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership and is part of the national charity Business in the Community.

For information on how to join the Fylde Coast Responsible Business Network contact project manager Michelle Walker on or on 07734 495212.

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