Worktree is a community of 1,500 volunteer guests from a wide range of work backgrounds, helping young people find out what work is really like, what jobs are available and how to get their ideal job. Our volunteers do this by simply answering young people’s questions in a speed networking style session called Career WorkOut. Career WorkOut sessions are organised and facilitated by a small team of paid Worktree staff, governed by trustees from different branches of employment. Our aim as a charity (since 2000) is to develop students’ career awareness, aspirations and employability skills and to have all 20,000 secondary school students in MK taking part in the programme.
In 2017-18, 6547 students aged 11-18 participated in 110 Career WorkOut sessions. Their pre- and post-session evaluation questionnaires showed a 13% overall increase in “I am confident making choices about my future work options” and 20% overall increase in “I am confident talking to adults I don’t know”. 519 volunteer work guests from 164 MK companies made a total of 1,297 guest appearances and completed 1,025 post-session questionnaires showing 99% “enjoyed the session” and 97% “now feel more positive about my work”.
Worktree was originally Countec Education Business Partnership, created in 1992 by Buckinghamshire County Council and the Training & Enterprise Council (TEC) for Milton Keynes & North Buckinghamshire, hence ‘Coun-tec’.
Countec Ltd was registered as a company in 1992, No 2698919, and as a charity in 2000, No 1089125. Countec EBP organised 50,000 work placements and facilitated 20,000 meetings with diverse work guests in schools. We have also run our own work-based ‘school without walls’ providing full-time education for 300 excluded 14-16 year olds.
Worktree funding comes mainly from schools and businesses, with occasional grants and individual donations.