The Rosewood Review #2

February 15, 2023

Skills and Employability Conference helps to shape strategic direction of future employment opportunities in Chesterfield.

Situated in the heart of Chesterfield, the historic Winding Wheel Theatre provided the ideal location for this year’s Skills and Employability Conference. Exploring how local talent can be retained in Chesterfield, the event facilitated a much-needed discussion between local businesses, education providers and career advisory companies. Hosted by Chesterfield Borough Council in conjunction with Destination Chesterfield, the conference opened with thought-provoking statements from Whittington Green School students. Admitting that they aspire towards higher education, but feel that they must look outside of Chesterfield to find opportunities, the students expressed their wish for more awareness about post-secondary options within the town.

Promoting Apprenticeship Vacancies

Commending the students for their honesty, Deputy Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, Amanda Serjeant, agreed that the town needs to drive growth in the employment sector. Focussing specifically on apprenticeship schemes, Amanda revealed that 44% more apprenticeship positions were filled this year than last year. Whilst this increase indicates a progression in the right direction, Amanda believes that there is still more that Chesterfield can be doing to promote apprenticeship vacancies. One such strategy involves the private and  public sectors and school environments working together to create and maintain connections between students and local companies. This would ensure the future workforce leaves a lasting legacy that improves outcomes for local businesses.

Spotlighting Specialist Industries With Careers Fairs

Echoing Amanda’s view of a brighter Chesterfield, Skills Delivery Officer, Emily Williams, emphasised the importance of delivering careers fairs to schools. Acknowledging that there are misconceptions about the number of jobs available in Chesterfield, Emily suggests that educating students is the key to dispelling myths about local career opportunities. Whether through job and apprenticeship roadshows in schools, or through virtual careers fair platform ‘My Future’, Emily believes that effective events must be interactive and engaging. By introducing the popular ‘Made in Chesterfield’ initiative, students have been exposed to careers in specialised industries such as construction and manufacturing. Holding regular events in conjunction with Chesterfield College, businesses within these industries are invited to interact directly with young people. Discussing specific roles available to school leavers, these events are designed to educate students on jobs they may otherwise have been unfamiliar with.

Schools Have A Responsibility To Promote Careers Education

Furthering Emily’s notion that securing a more skilled workforce begins with education, Headteacher of Brookfield Community School, Keith Hirst, acknowledged that schools have a responsibility to prepare students for their future working lives. In order to best do so, Keith believes that education providers should be attempting to build and maintain current and new links with local providers. This strengthens the relationships between local companies and young people, therefore better informing them of their future options within the town. Furthermore, Keith believes that a combined support network of parents, schools and local businesses is the most effective way to support young people.

Building Future Talent In The Construction Industry

Providing an insight into how the construction industry is facilitating opportunities for young people, Development and Property Director, Andrew Byrne, revealed that by 2027, 17,500 new construction job vacancies will be available. In an attempt to train Chesterfield residents wishing to work in the construction industry, Andrew’s company, the Devonshire Property Group, have been given permission to build the Construction Skills Hub in Mastin Moor. Delivered by industry experts from the University of Derby and Chesterfield College, the innovative development will provide specialist training facilities for prospective workers in the industry.
Working closely with Andrew to deliver the Construction Skills Hub, Principal and Chief Executive of Chesterfield College, Julie Richards, is confident that the Hub will inspire the next generation of skilled workers to get involved with the industry. By using ground-breaking technology, the available training programmes will fuse traditional trades with modern methods of construction. Addressing the lack of work experience opportunities available for students, the Hub will offer a safe, professional working environment for them to explore their future options. For those students wishing to pursue a more traditional educational route, Julie announced that this year’s launch of T-Levels will combine practical and knowledge-based learning with on-the-job experience. 

Equal Opportunities For Disadvantaged And Neurodiverse People

Offering a unique perspective on the strategic employment direction in Chesterfield, Level 5 apprentice, Dustin Rogers, chaired a discussion with a specialist panel of delegates from the business and education community. Speaking about the inclusivity of degree apprenticeships, MP for Chesterfield, Toby Perkins, emphasised that schemes must do more to encourage BAME students to enrol. Sharing Toby’s vision for a more accessible education curriculum, HR Manager of Tarmac, Julie Allen, highlighted the necessity for employers to adopt their job roles for disadvantaged and neurodiverse people. By allowing employees to learn on the job, equal opportunities are provided for people who may need additional support. According to Julie, the key to building an efficient workforce is to employ someone based on their fundamental skill set, rather than simply their qualifications.

Additional Support Needed For Small Businesses With Apprentices

Bringing to light the challenges small businesses face when supporting apprentices, Director at Rosewood Wealth Management, Shannan Pool-Gorman, revealed that more external support for apprenticeship supervisors is needed. Believing that having the support of local mentors, coaches and consultants may be the way forward, Shannan insists that it is necessary to develop and harness an apprentice’s pre-existing skills. Admitting that there is a lack of awareness about the financial services industry, Shannan believes that industry leaders should educate students about career prospects within the sector. By actively speaking in school assemblies, young people could also learn about the importance of financial products such as pensions and mortgages.

 Community Approach To Careers Education

Supporting Shannan’s sentiment about visiting schools, Strategic Careers Hub Lead, Lana Jay, expressed her wish for a stronger community approach to careers education. Passionate about reaching students in rural areas, Lana insists that representatives of different industries should be giving career advice to rural schools. Believing that young people should be taught about their future job prospects from primary-school age, Lana is an advocate for breaking down the barriers that the future talent pipeline may face.
Expanding on Lana’s point, Assistant Head Teacher of Dronfield Henry Fanshawe School, Kevin Pickles, argued that it is difficult for teachers to balance careers education with delivering GCSE content. However, by training existing teachers to become careers advisors, Kevin believes that careers education will eventually become integrated with classroom teaching.

Rosewood Roundup

Attending the fully booked conference at the Winding Wheel, I felt hopeful for the next generation of skilled workers. Listening to the businesses, schools and education providers of Chesterfield discuss the future of careers education, it was apparent that we all share the same belief in young people. Hearing directly from Rosewood’s Director, Shannan, it was refreshing to see her sentiments echoed among the other attendees. For young people, the future career prospects in Chesterfield appear promising.

Amy McCroray


Rosewood Wealth Management Ltd

4th Floor, 1 Waterside Place
Basin Square, Brimington Road,
Chesterfield, Derbyshire
S41 7FH
United Kingdom (UK)

Phone: 01246 932300

Registered in England and Wales Registered Company Number : 08291755. Registered address: 4th Floor, 1 Waterside Place, Basin Square, Brimington Road, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S41 7FH.
Directors: Donna Robertson & Shannan Pool-Gorman


Monday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed

What to do if you have a complaint: If you have a complaint or dispute with us, you are entitled to make a complaint. We have a complaints procedure that is available on request. If you wish to register a complaint, please contact us either in writing, by telephone or email. If you wish to register a complaint, please contact us: In writing: Shannan Pool-Gorman, 4th Floor, 1 Waterside Place, Basin Square, Brimington Road, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S41 7FH. Email:, or by telephone 01246 932300. Please be assured we treat complaints seriously. For your protection, if you cannot settle your complaint with us, you may be entitled to refer it to the Financial Ombudsman Service (‘FOS’). Please see the following link for further details:

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