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Under Secretary of State for Schools, Lord Nash, signals roll-out of successful Make the Grade scheme


Balfour Beatty’s bee hives high- light sustainable commitment to Scottish schools


alfour Beatty is funding an on-going sustainability project at St Ambrose and Buchanan High Schools in Coatbridge as part of a lasting legacy for the new £44 million schools’ campus, which it constructed. The project includes the acquisition of two bee hives which were delivered to the schools shortly before the end of the spring term. Balfour Beatty will fund the management of the hives by specialist company, Plan Bee, who will also teach the basics of bee-keeping and the importance of bees to the environment to pupils at the schools.

Elizabeth Denton, Deputy Head of St Ambrose High School, said: “The idea came after a sustainability day we held at the school a few years ago. Saint Ambrose, our patron saint, has a strong association with bees. Our school badge features bees on it. So naturally we were keen to have bees on our lovely new campus.” Buchanan High School was also enthusiastic to become involved as environmental projects play a large part in the school’s curriculum.

Margaret Fannon, Head Teacher of Buchanan High School, said: “We are all excited at the prospect of working with Plan Bee and St Ambrose High School to learn bee keeping skills. This will allow us to build on our work in relation to Eco Schools and sustainability.”

Hector MacAulay, Balfour Beatty Delivery Unit Managing Director, said: “Balfour Beatty is committed to engaging with the communities in which it works. It was important to us to work in partnership with Buchanan High School, St Ambrose High School and North Lanarkshire Council to ensure we left a meaningful legacy once construction of the new schools was complete.

Sponsoring two beehives for five years, with bee- keeping lessons and equipment, fits the bill nicely. The initiative ties in with many elements of the curriculum and will give pupils the opportunity to learn about biodiversity and understand the importance of the bees in a practical way.”

Balfour Beatty’s bee hives highlight sustainable commitment to Scottish schools St Ambrose and Buchanan High Schools were officially opened in March 2013 and were the 28th school that Balfour Beatty had delivered for North Lanarkshire Council over a period of six years.

The building was designed with sustainability in mind with the construction process seeing 92% of waste being recycled.

May 2014

nder Secretary of State for Schools, Lord Nash, has formally launched the roll-out of

the innovative Make the Grade scheme. Following a successful two year pilot scheme in

central Leeds, Make the Grade - created by the Ahead Partnership and cited as an example of best practice by Lord Heseltine in his extensive report to government on national growth – has been awarded three years of funding from the Big Lottery Fund to develop the initiative. The funding will enable the Ahead Partnership to progress and expand the piloted model, with the aim of creating 28 new business/education partnerships in secondary schools across the Leeds City Region. Stephanie Burras, CEO of Ahead Partnership,

said: “We are delighted that Lord Nash has formally launched the expansion of Make the Grade. Following two years of engagement with both business and education providers, we have received encouraging commitment to the scheme with 13 partnerships already developed. “The Make the Grade model is unique in the

UK and provides a very flexible architecture for schools and businesses to tap into and benefit from. We are thrilled that our model can now be rolled-out to the wider city region and look forward, long term, to this being a national initiative.” Designed to better integrate the world of work with education, Make the Grade improves the

motivation and aspirations of young people, whilst enhancing their employability skills and increasing their awareness of the world of work. It also helps employers - large and small - to work together to address the skills gaps through practical activity that develops young people to better prepare them for employment. Lord Nash, Under Secretary of State for Schools,

commented: “We want employers and schools to work

closely together to ensure children are prepared for the world of work. “That is why I am pleased to support the Make

the Grade initiative, which helps build these crucial relationships while motivating children to take on exciting and practical projects.”

YPO employees celebrate 40 years of saving public money


mployees at Yorkshire-based YPO, the UK’s largest publicly owned buying organisation, recently celebrated 40 years of helping the public sector make taxpayers’ money go further. The company marked its Ruby Anniversary with a supplier sponsored day filled with employee recognition awards, team building exercises, and a lunch with special guest speakers, not to mention a huge cake. Able to trace its roots to as far back as 1915, when it began life as West Riding County Supplies, the company was reborn in 1974 as Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation and today is known simply as YPO following a rebrand and national marketing campaign in 2012. The organisation has helped drive public sector efficiency savings through its bulk buying power for supplies and centralised contract services initiatives, throughout. As well as the full board and senior

management who were in attendance today to show their appreciation, YPO acknowledged three members of staff who have been with the organisation for the full 40 years; Christine Preston, Alan Roe and John Goldthorpe (pictured). Christine Preston who works in Human Resources said: “YPO is a fantastic place to work. Times have certainly changed over the years. When I first started in 1974, all orders were processed manually and we took calls with just two phones! I’ve seen people come

and go, and sometimes come back again! It’s been my only job since leaving school; it’s been a pleasure to come to work every day and I’ve met some great people along the way. I haven’t regretted a single moment.”

Simon Hill, Managing Director of YPO said: “YPO employees through the decades have worked tirelessly to help our public sector customers make best use of their ever squeezed budgets, whether it’s schools, local authorities, charities, the NHS or the emergency services. They are a talented and highly skilled group and we wanted to applaud their achievements. They have helped us go from strength to strength as an organisation. Indeed, we are aiming to hit a record £1 million of stock orders taken in one day sometime this summer.

“Our latest annual figures demonstrate yet another year on year rise in base turnover and means we can continue to give more back to the public purse. To date, YPO has given back £105 million to the public sector.” 11

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