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Employer engagement in education boosts students’ job prospects

By 10th December 2015 No Comments

As representatives from Plymouth & Devon Chamber of Commerce join business and education leaders today (Thursday) at British Chambers of Commerce’s (BCC) first Business and Education Summit, the BCC has published findings from a major UK-wide survey of over 3,500 businesses and educators highlighting the significant benefits of partnerships between schools and businesses.

The vast majority of educational establishments (88%) partnering with businesses said the most important benefit was improved outcomes for their pupils.

The education leaders surveyed also stated that employer engagement has a clear benefit for their pupils, including; greater awareness of the soft skills that businesses value (74%); increased motivation in lessons (73%); better careers information (52%); and lessons which are more relevant and connected to the world of work (46%).

Business leaders reported that the main reasons for partnering with a school were to demonstrate Corporate Social Responsibility (43%), to identify future employees (38%) and to increase awareness of different jobs and career paths (35%). However, both business and education leaders reported a number of barriers preventing them from building lasting and effective partnerships. For businesses and educators respectively, this included staff time (53% / 64%), and administrative burdens (36% / 41%). Businesses also cited cost as a factor (38%) while some educators identified a lack of interest from business (42%).

In response to this need Plymouth & Devon Chamber has introduced the Young Chamber membership initiative in partnership with RIO – the Real Ideas Organisation, part of a national pilot project to provide useful and meaningful Chamber membership for schools. The Young Chamber proposition has been designed to bridge the gap between schools and businesses and support education leaders to make contact with relevant businesses to provide the much needed exposure to businesses that young people require to develop relevant skills for work.

Jonathan Clitheroe, Head of Challenge Based Learning for RIO said: “We believe it’s too late to start introducing young people to the world of work when they leave school. They should leave school already plugged into a series of exciting sectors and with a clear sense of the value they can bring to those sectors. Real, immersive and purposeful collaborations between schools and business are essential in making this possible. Schools and business need to understand each other, collaborate and be willing to take risks together. The work of the BCC is essential in making deep meaningful and transformative collaborations possible.”

Commenting on the results, George Cowcher, Chief Executive of Plymouth & Devon Chamber of Commerce said: “Ensuring young people leave education with the necessary skills to equip them to gain meaningful employment is extremely important, both to the businesses in dire need of skilled staff and to the young people themselves. As the Chamber of Commerce for Devon we’re well placed to facilitate the important links between businesses and educational establishments to help make this need a reality. There is a clear appetite from both sides for developments to be made and the Chamber will continue to drive forward potential partnership activities to encourage future enterprise activities within schools.”

Find out more about Young Chamber at www.plymouthanddevonchamber.co.uk.

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