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New partnership launched to bridge the enterprise education gap

By 27th October 2015 No Comments

Following the recent results of the British Chambers of Commerce Business and Education survey, highlighting that business leaders and education professionals are calling for under 16 work experience to be made a priority, RIO has today announced a partnership with Plymouth & Devon Chamber of Commerce to deliver its Young Chamber proposition.

Young Chamber is a new member offer for schools and colleges in Plymouth & Devon, and forms part of a pilot project being run by the Accredited Chamber Network. Its purpose is to help bridge the gap between businesses and the education sector. As part of Young Chamber membership schools and colleges will typically benefit from careers networking events, strategic links with local businesses, access to mentors, talks from local employers, work inspiration experiences and much more.

Verity French, Membership Manager for Plymouth & Devon Chamber of Commerce said: “Plymouth & Devon Chamber is pleased to offer Young Chamber membership to schools as part of this national pilot project. As identified through our conversations with members, results of the Business and Education survey and feedback from last year’s Enterprise for All conference, which we partnered with the RIO to deliver, it’s clear that both businesses and schools are keen to work together to bridge the skills gap and provide a productive workforce of the future. We’re delighted to welcome RIO as a partner in our Young Chamber proposition and look forward to working with them to further communicate our offering to schools.”

RIO currently works with schools across the country delivering innovative challenge based learning and enterprise teaching to introduce students to an understanding of enterprise at an early age. Recent RIO projects with schools include Our Way, an international export business with Plymstock School, and Ballot Street Spice, a social enterprise producing and selling spice mixes at Victoria Park Primary Academy in Smethwick, West Midlands.

Jonathan Clitheroe, Head of Challenge Based Learning at RIO said: “We’re really excited to be working with Plymouth and Devon Chamber to develop a membership offer for schools that will enable them to access the world of business in a meaningful way. We see schools as businesses at the heart of their communities and through Young Chamber, they will benefit from being part of a dynamic network – building new partnerships, developing new ideas, accessing investment and plugging young people into the conversations and experiences required for them to be part of the region’s economic future. We look forward to using experience of working with schools to support the Chamber in bridging the gap between education and enterprise.”

Findings from the British Chambers of Commerce Business and Education survey for the South West showed that:

Businesses should prioritise delivery of work experience.

  • 50% of South West firms identified work experience as the top priority activity for businesses to offer young people, over business mentoring (13%), part-time paid work (12%), volunteering (4%) and enterprise activities (13%).
  • 43% of South West educational establishments identified work experience as the top priority activity for businesses to offer young people, over enterprise activities (31%), mentoring (17%) and part-time paid work (6%).
  • There’s no single ideal work experience model – businesses that offer work experience value a variety of models.

  • 46% of South West firms offer one to two week term-time work experience placements, 31% offer work placements during school holidays, 21% offer flexible work placements and 27% arrange visits to their businesses for groups of pupils.
  • Two-thirds of businesses offer work experience of some form. Those that don’t say that they need more support and encouragement to offer work experience.

  • 31% of South West businesses offer no work experience of any kind.
  • Firms that don’t currently offer work experience would be encouraged to do so by having more information about what is required (33%), someone to facilitate the relationship with the school (34%) and clarity on the benefits to their business (18%).
  • Micro, small and medium sized businesses are less likely than larger firms to offer work experience. 59% of micro businesses (0-9 staff) offer no type of work experience at all, compared to 29% of small (10-49), 16% of medium (50-249) and 12% of large firms (250+).
  • Find out more about Young Chamber at www.plymouthanddevonchamber.co.uk.

    View the South West Business and Education survey infographic here.

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