Business and Education needs a new social partnership

Posted by Paul Cherpeau

Chief Executive

Wed 02nd, Oct

Businesses are increasingly demanding specialist skills and outstanding talent to drive performance and success. The educational institutions in our city region have a vital role to prepare our next generation of talent for careers in the businesses of tomorrow. But they cannot do it alone and it is time for a social partnership between our businesses, schools, colleges and universities.

Through a collaborative engagement survey with businesses the Chamber, working with colleagues at Professional Liverpool and the Local Enterprise Partnership, have identified the existing and intended engagement of individual businesses with schools, the objectives and barriers to such engagement and the qualities our businesses expect within school leavers.

Our key outcomes were:

  • The three most important qualities a school leaver needs to possess in order to be successful in business were communication, flexibility and problem solving
  • Businesses intend to increase their engagement with secondary schools through career talks, mock interviews, lesson participation and mentoring support
  • Work experience is becoming less popular for businesses to deliver
  • Businesses engage to a far greater extent with Secondary Schools than Primary Schools
  • Most businesses undertake formal activity to fulfil a socially responsible function and develop their own talent base
  • Business capacity (size and time) and school accessibility are the key impediments to school engagement

Initiatives like the Careers Hub and the ‘Give an Hour’ initiative are beginning to overcome a decade of underinvestment in the facilitation of business-school engagement, but there remains more to be done if we are to fully equip our young people with the skills to succeed and that businesses are looking for in their workforce.

Schools who are able to plan for employer engagement in their curriculum activity would greatly enhance the ability to prepare businesses for appropriate and worthwhile encounters. By making those interactions of greater value, it enhances awareness, opens the minds of students to the future world of work, increases preparedness and positively impacts on their aspirations.

Whilst Chambers, LEPs and associations help build bridges between the worlds of education and business, it is imperative that local authorities, school governors and teachers adopt a joined up and structured approach to encourage and welcome the world of work into the classroom.

There is considerable goodwill and desire amongst the Liverpool business community to help support, shape and inspire the next generation of our business community. The opportunity to facilitate meaningful engagement can only be good for our students, our businesses and ultimately our society.

We will be sharing the full report next week and featuring some of the key findings on our social channels.

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