BITC's Faye Ramsson, Education Director, gives her perspective on the Big Ticks, highly commended and winning entries for this year's Education Award category.
There has never been a more urgent need for businesses to engage with schools. This year’s award entries to the Education category have demonstrated not only the breadth of companies positively impacting on school pupils, but also the scale, with over 417,000 young people supported by our 19 Big Tick companies this year.
We know that the most successful and sustainable schemes are partnerships built around a dialogue between a business and a school, with the focus on the school’s priorities. Our Education category sought to identify those companies that are being more strategic in their approach, which in turn increases the scale and depth of the impact of their work in schools.
Out of the 19 companies that were awarded the Big Tick for significant achievement in supporting schools, four stood out and were shortlisted for the winning accolade. The University of Manchester focuses on supporting school leadership. By creating a very effective partnership with School Governors One Stop Shop, they have encouraged 241 staff and alumni to become school governors, volunteering a total of 2,892 days, and reaching around 84,350 learners. AF Blakemore, another shortlisted company, has built a suite of education activities that are delivered by staff across the business and have supported 32,066 students in 230 schools, through 487 individual projects.
The judges awarded Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer Highly Commended status for their deep, strategic commitment to Haggerston School in Hackney which they have supported for the last 14 years. This is one of the first and oldest partnerships of this kind.
Receiving the accolade of Winner was EDF Energy for their POD programme and partnership with Okehampton School. This example shows the impact that occurs when a company brings to life what they do for a school. EDF Energy has helped Okehampton School save £100,000 from their bills by being more energy efficient, money that can then be spent on improving education there. The students are directly involved in monitoring and managing energy use and taking part in additional STEM activities. As a result, 30% of students who showed no interest in a science-based career said they are more likely to pursue one now.
These examples of excellence are invaluable in inspiring others to follow suit. Education remains one of the most significant issues facing UK business today, with employers lacking confidence in getting high-skilled workers for the future, and school leavers lacking the right work experience and key attributes to set them up for successful working lives.
It makes business sense to engage with long-term, school-needs-led partnerships, and the successful award entrants this year can help inspire and guide you on how your compay can support young people.
If you would like to discuss what BITC can do to support your business on this issue or how you could enter the 2015 Awards please contact Caroline Brown on firstname.lastname@example.org.