When schools and businesses work in partnership, everybody benefits. Together, the two organisations have the power to achieve remarkable things and make a real difference to the lives of young people.
Yet all too often, private sector businesses are left feeling alienated by the very different world of education. At the same time, schools focused solely on academic success can forget the important role a business partnership could play in developing the practical skills and improving the employability of their pupils.
The challenge faced by most schools in establishing working partnerships with businesses include:
- Clearly communicating the roles and responsibilities of both the school and business.
- Explaining how the partnership will practically work, and the associated benefits.
- Offering businesses ideas on how to contribute.
We’ve asked businesses exactly how they’d prefer to engage with schools. Below, you’ll find some tips for getting businesses involved with your school.
Establish Well-defined Boundaries
In the world of business partnerships, great things happen when both parties collaborate, have an equal stake in outcomes, and work toward common aims.
School-business partnerships are no different. Businesses want to form partnerships with schools that have well-defined boundaries; an agreed level of involvement, a clear understanding of responsibilities, and a tangible sense of the mutual benefit involved.
One of the concerns harboured by businesses is the fear of being snowed under by ad hoc requests from their partner school and being expected to contribute to a level that is beyond their capacity. Establishing mutually agreed boundaries at the outset of discussions sets the expectations of both the school and business and will give businesses the confidence needed to proceed with getting involved.
Help Businesses Close Their Skills Gaps
One of the largest challenges a business can face is an increasing skills gap. Deficiencies in the expertise of a workforce can develop in relation to any skill, meaning they can affect companies in any sector or industry.
In the short term, addressing a skills gap requires a business to make a significant investment in the training of new and current staff. However, a long-term solution to reducing a skill gap is tackling the discrepancy at an early stage.
Businesses affected by a skills gap want to help schools teach children the skills they need the future workforce to possess. They understand that by hosting workshops or work-related lessons, they can tutor pupils and use their knowledge and experience to develop the children’s skills.
Companies also understand that closing the skill gap in this way is mutually beneficial. While it increases the number of people equipped with the skills to work at the firm, it also improves the employability of the students and increases their skill sets.
Facilitate Work Experience
Perhaps the most established link between businesses and schools, work experience is a crucial stage of a child’s education that gives them an insight into their future and the world of work. It’s a practice that businesses gain a lot from, too.
To this day, companies are still keen to maintain work experience relationships with schools and continue hosting students for placements. Bringing young people who are eager to learn into the company is refreshing for businesses and their current staff. These placements also give businesses the opportunity to engage with young people and better understand how they are being taught, the skills they are developing in school, and what motivates them.
Provide the Opportunity to Work with Teachers
Companies who want to engage with schools want to work in partnership with the teachers, utilising their expertise and authority in the classroom to make sure the sessions are a success. There is also the opportunity to integrate business-led sessions with curriculum learning to enhance the experience for pupils and provide added context.
Form an Effective Partnership
The potential of a successful long-term school-business partnership is too great to miss out on. No matter how little time either party believes they have, the benefits to the company, school, and children will be just rewards for the work involved.
If you want to find out more about working with businesses, or how a partnership can help your school and its pupils, get in touch with the Eduprise team today.