BASINGSTOKE businesses are getting behind a campaign to provide students with employability skills that will help to prepare them for the world of work.

The Skillstree programme, aimed at 11 to 18-year-olds and run by education charity Basingstoke Consortium, will see the doors of local businesses open, and a series of employer visits, talks, mock interviews, skills and career days and enterprise events take place.

This year, in addition to its core programme, Skillstree aims to give every Year 8 student in Basingstoke a chance to take part in one of its practical activities as it launches a new programme for those aged 12-13.

Basingstoke Consortium chief executive officer Sue Riley said: “Young people are really benefitting by gaining access to some truly inspirational role models, mentors and experiences. None of this would be possible without the support of our volunteers and sponsors – all local organisations that see the benefit of investing in their community.

“For 2014, we are glad to have the continuing support of many partners and to welcome new supporters on board too.”

Among the new sponsors is LG Motion and MiniTec UK, run by managing director Gary Livingstone.

He said: “You spend a lot of time at work, so it’s very important to find something that you enjoy and can develop in.

“The opportunity to experience different workplaces and understand the possibilities is truly invaluable to personal development and finding a career that you have a passion for. As someone who has gone from apprentice to business owner, I still remember my experiences within engineering at a young age, and have been ever so lucky to continue in a career that continues to excite me even today.”

The Newbury Building Society, like LG Motion and MiniTec UK is an associate member of Skillstree.

Diane Long, business manager at the society’s Festival Place branch said: “We are pleased to be involved in the Skillstree project for 2014, to support and encourage Year 8 pupils at Basingstoke schools.

“We feel that our involvement in this project will help the next generation develop and learn new skills, which will make the step from education into employment a more comfortable one.”