Guest writer: Jo Barker, Employer Engagement Manager, Inspire!
Employers and their employees have a lot to contribute, and gain, from working with the education sector. From mentoring struggling pupils, to providing work experience for disadvantaged young people, there are numerous ways to get involved.
So, how could supporting schools and colleges bring benefits to your business?
Build the skills your industry needs:
Do you work in an industry suffering from a skills shortage? Or in a role you didn’t even know existed when you were at school? Engineering and science are just two of the sectors in need of new skills.
With some workplaces dominated by certain genders and backgrounds, the talent pool needs to expand. By connecting with young people at school, your business can help raise aspirations and challenge stereotypes early.
In the long run, you will be building the skills your future workplace needs.
Access talented young people:
Working with schools and colleges can help you recruit ambitious young people. Taking part in a careers fair or presentation, for example, builds brand recognition as well as helping you scout for talent. Your work experience student could even become your next employee!
Be present in your local community:
Supporting local schools is a key way of demonstrating commitment to your local community. Whether you’re a large corporate or small enterprise, community involvement will increase your visibility in the local area. What’s more, if your target audience includes young people, you could gain some free market research!
Develop your employees:
Going back to school and getting out of your comfort zone is great for personal development. This is especially true for company employees. Your employees may not get a chance to mentor others or speak publicly in their day job: working with young people can provide these opportunities.
Demonstrate your corporate social responsibility:
CSR is all about contributing to sustainable development; many corporates are linking their strategies to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. These include quality education, sustainable economic growth, and reduced inequalities. What better way to work towards these goals than by supporting the next generation?
The benefits of CSR go beyond the ‘feel good’ factor. Companies with good CSR have better employee recruitment and retention: a survey by Cone Communications found that two-third of millennials wouldn’t take a job at a company with poor CSR practices.
This just scratches the surface of how, and why, to get involved with your local education community. We recognise that forming school partnerships, however, can take up time and resources. Education charities like Inspire! exist to bridge the gap. Why not discover your local education charity and connect to the schools and young people most in need of support?
Inspire! aim to motivate and support young people to raise their achievement and aspirations, gain relevant work-related skills and develop an understanding of the world of work.
We work with primary schools, secondary schools, colleges, disengaged young people and young people not in employment, education or training (NEET). Employers and employee volunteers play a key role in inspiring, supporting and opening doors for young people.
Inspire! offer a range of opportunities for business involvement, from hosting work experience placements to mentoring primary school pupils.