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Solihull Solihull Chamber Patrons


Students land jobs thanks to scheme


Two students who joined a pioneering scheme in Solihull aimed at tackling skills shortages have been rewarded by being offered full-time jobs. The students, Hassan Afzal and Samuel


Holmes, have both joined National Grid Smart, after taking part in the borough’s new Digital INnov8ors scheme. Digital INnov8ors was piloted in the borough


in October 2016, with 20 students from Solihull college and university centre. The idea was to create a fusion between


education providers, businesses and students in order to create a pathway into employment for 16-25 year olds. Eighteen months later, the programme has


more than 120 students and the Digital INnov8ors team is continuing to work closely with local employers and Solihull Chamber to boost the borough’s economic growth. National Grid smart meters director Kerri


Matthews said: “The work placement has worked exceptionally well for both the students and National Grid Smart.


Bridging the skills gap (from left):Mick Westman, Kirsten Pickering (National Grid Smart), Samaira Fareed (Digital INnov8ors), Hassan Afzal, Samuel Holmes and Claire Toher


“We have found the students to be very open


to learning and trying new things but more importantly incredibly keen to make a difference and add value to the business. We are thrilled to confirm that, as a direct result of the placements, NG Smart have offered Hassan Afzal and Samuel Holmes positions within our organisation.”


Digital INnov8ors Ltd has been established as


a social enterprise and is being led by ex-BT employee Mick Westman. Mr Westman said: “Digital INnov8ors’ aim is to


ensure that less academically orientated talent is sufficiently inspired and ambitious to grasp employment opportunities.”


May 2018 CHAMBERLINK 41


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