07 Mar Why a stronger relationship is needed between business and education
It’s time to address the growing concern that a generation is leaving school unready for work, and lacking in the skills needed to survive in the working world.
The lack of communication between businesses and the educational institutions means that schools and colleges don’t know what employment learning programmes are available in the working world, and on the flip side, businesses aren’t being approached to interact with their local schools, therefore they are not seeing the potential talent and enthusiasm in students preparing for the next stage in their lives.
Stronger relationships are needed between business and education, but how can we achieve this?
For the education sector, it is essential that your careers education curriculum is not a chaotic session that students feel is a waste of time. It needs to be well structured, informative and interesting, opening young people’s eyes to the choices and opportunities out there.
This BBC News article reports that of 40 secondary schools visited by Ofsted in early 2016, only 4 of them put enough emphasis on work-related learning. Others didn’t consider work-related education important, had weak links with local businesses and were unsure about the external careers education support on offer. Ofsted are now pushing the government to revisit recommendations made by Lord Young, in the Enterprise for All paper published in 2014, which urged for greater emphasis on work related learning in schools.
As a headmaster, lecturer or teacher, you should make a point of getting in touch with local businesses. Attending business networking events is a good opportunity to meet business owners and managers; you could find that there are opportunities out there you may never have heard about. Ask your local businesses if they are willing to visit the students, to talk about their line of work, the opportunities available, the qualifications needed. Ask if they will do mock interviews, conduct a work-skills workshop, invite students to visit their workplace, or offer them work experience.
In October 2016 Gradvert hosted its first Round Table Event to discuss the future of skills in the North East post Brexit. It appears that there is a lack of opportunities in the North East, but as the discussion deepened this was found not to be the case at all; instead it is filled with career opportunities that people are unaware of, further cementing the fact that stronger relationships are needed between business and education.
If your business welcomes new talent, fresh ideas and an enthusiastic work force, you should put time into educating the next generation. Actively take time to go into schools and colleges in your area and help prepare students for the world of work. Tell students about your business and your industry, get them interacting with practical sessions, mock interviews, and visits to your workshop or offices.
As an employer, if you can commit to 8 hours per week, you could consider getting involved with the Enterprise Advisor Network. The network pairs senior business volunteers with schools and colleges to work in partnership with the senior leadership teams to develop an employer-led careers strategy for the students.
Whether you are in business or education, take those first positive steps in building stronger relationships between the two and help to give the children the crucial education they need for the working world, and to become our future generation of entrepreneurs.
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