Home > Latest News

"Start Small; Dream Big": help children in our primary schools to achieve their potential

Social value
Case studies Inner

The Careers and Enterprise Company has selected Sandwell-based SIPS Education to deliver its ‘Start Small; Dream Big’ programme for primary schools in the Black Country. Now SIPS Education is looking for local businesspeople to inspire the next generation. Will you take part in employer encounter experiences for our young people?

Studies show* that, by the age of six, children have already started to adopt limiting stereotypes based on gender, ethnicity and social background. By age nine, some have already started to abandon their biggest ambitions.

Start Small; Dream Big is a £2.6m pilot project, funded by the Department for Education, set up to address these findings. It aims to raise awareness among primary school-aged children of the world of work, raising aspirations and combatting stereotypes. Delivered overall by the Careers and Enterprise Company and Teach First, its aim is to reach 600,000 children in 2,250 primary schools across the country, between now and 2025.

The Careers and Enterprise Company has selected SIPS Education as its delivery partner for schools across Sandwell and the rest of the Black Country. The West Bromwich-based not-for-profit organisation will play an important part in encouraging children from disadvantaged backgrounds to dream big about their future careers. SIPS’ work will include supporting senior leaders, teachers, parents and children with information and resources. It will build children’s understanding of the links between the things they learn in school and the world of work.

Serving schools across the region: about SIPS Education

SIPS Education (www.sips.co.uk) started in 2013. It provides professional services for secondary schools, primary schools, nurseries and special schools across the region. These include HR, financial services, software support, IT technical support and project work, catering delivery and consultancy, health and safety consultancy, data protection consultancy and support, school improvement solutions, managed work experience, and music and arts services.

SIPS Education is a co-operative and therefore governed by its members, not shareholders. CEO Brian Cape previously told us: “Our people feel it’s important to be able to put schools (members) first and we’re proud to be part of an organisation that doesn’t make profits from children”.

Brian, who is also a Sandwell Business Ambassador, explained how Start Small; Dream Big will work.

“Start Small; Dream Big will integrate with children’s learning by linking lessons to careers. It will also give them an opportunity to explore different jobs and meet inspiring employers.

“We want children in our region to reach their full potential by finding something they love, and pursuing it with confidence and ambition. So I would love to see local employers and entrepreneurs get involved and help to dispel those limiting beliefs and stereotypes that hold children back.”

How you can support the programme

SIPS is asking employers to pledge a number of days/hours for their teams to support Start Small; Dream Big. You could support multiple schools at both school-based and regional events, or one school within your local area. SIPS is keen to stress that any time you can give is valuable to our amazing young people.

So can you pledge a day or so to help SIPS and our local primary schools with Start Small; Dream Big? Please email wrl@sips.co.uk for more information. Tell them the Sandwell Business Growth Team sent you!

Or you can sign up for the information sessions in late January and February 2024.

SIPS is also looking for suitable people to become Enterprise Advisers. As well as local organisations that can offer work experience placements. Again, email wrl@sips.co.uk with your details.

* PDF opens in a new tab: ‘What works? Career-related learning in primary schools’ – Dr Elnaz Kashefpakdel, Jordan Rehill and Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE.

We amended this article in January 2023 to include the information sessions and remove a mention of SIPS’ provision covering Coventry.

Back to news

You might be interested in