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Michelle Lord, CPRoLSO Manager at Cambridge City Council and Robert Pollock, CEO, Cambridge City Council speaking at the launch event

UK first, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Region of Learning and XP validate informal learning and open new career paths for disadvantaged young people

Cambridge City Council hosted local business leaders at the official launch of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Region of Learning, Skills and Opportunity and XP, at PwC headquarters in Cambridge on Tuesday 5 July. 

CPRoLSO is the first region-wide initiative to build on the success of Cities of Learning projects in other parts of the UK. It will bring employers and education providers together to recognise and reward informal learning and skills and shape new career pathways for young people in our fast growth sectors.

Harnessing the power of technology, XP uses digital badges as the mechanism to accurately record and showcase otherwise hidden learning and skills. This then provides a route for previously excluded and marginalised young people, those without strong academic CVs, and those at risk of poor life outcomes, to participate in valued learning activities which will, in turn, open new career opportunities for them. 

Digital badges, which are the new standard for providing structure to informal and community learning opportunities and soft skill development, will be used to evidence the learning that individuals undertake and articulating the value of that learning in a shareable digital CV.

Michelle Lord FRSA, CPRoLSO Manager at Cambridge City Council, said: “Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Region of Learning has been in development for several years and I’m thrilled that the foresight, dedication and hard work invested in it has finally been realised.  XP offers so many benefits and opportunities to young people across the region and will also help to ease the skills shortages many organisations are hampered by.”

Recognising the value and opportunity that XP presents, Cambridge based fast growing global medical consulting firm, Costello Medical, is working as a CPRoLSO Employer Trailblazer, using digital badges to validate informal learning and map unique career pathways into its organisation.

Sophie Costello, co-founder and CEO of Costello Medical said: “Costello Medical is proud to be working with Region of Learning in the development of badges for some of our entry-level career opportunities. We are excited to connect with the talent pipeline in the local area and raise awareness of our career opportunities as we continue with our ambitious growth plans. As an independently owned and managed company, we enjoy the freedom to invest our resources into the areas that matter to us most, and it has never been more important to invest in the future of the workforce.”

Other businesses that have confirmed their support for and involvement in CPRoLSO so far include PwC, KPMG, Cambridge City Council, Softwerx, Socius, Cambridge Wireless, Jagex, Sookio, Marshall Skills Academy, Cambridgeshire Constabulary, PA Consulting, Singular Talent, Social Mobility Business Partnership, and Kameo Recruitment. Other organisations that have joined XP include Cambridgeshire Skills, Kettle’s Yard, Fitzwilliam Museum, Norfolk and Norwich Festival Bridge, Centre of Computing History, ABC Life Support, Form the Future, Shift Momentum, Cambridgeshire Libraries and Library Presents, WEA, University of Cambridge Museums, Living Sport, Cambridge Festival, Longhurst Group Peterborough, Cambridge Regional College, New Meaning Foundation, Cambridgeshire Virtual School, Refugee Education UK, FXP Festival, Wysing Arts Centre, Museum of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire Music, 20Twenty Productions, University of Cambridge, Anglia Ruskin University, Phoenix Trust, Kite Trust, Cambridge Folk Festival, University of Cambridge Hospital Arts, NHS Art Therapy Service, and Trinity College London and Arts Award.

Schools and colleges involved include Cambridge Academy for Science and Technology, Saffron Walden County High School, Joyce Frankland Academy, Trumpington Community College, Sawtry Village Academy, Greater Peterborough UTC, Nene Park Academy, Stamford Welland Academy. 

The following schools and sixth forms are hoping to work with the programme in the new academic year: Linton Village College, Chesterton Community College, North Cambridge Academy, Bishop Laney Sixth Form, St Peters School and Sixth Form.

If you are a local employer or learning provider and would like to find out more about how you can get involved, please visit https://xpcambs.co.uk/.  

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