aving a supportive network of local businesses isn’t always about exploiting the nancial benets they can

offer. In fact, as a school, you may be cautious about asking businesses for money until you have built up a good working relationship and can identify worthwhile projects requiring this kind of support. In the meantime, there are many

non-monetary benets to be enjoyed, including a range of cost savings brought about by some of the services that your business partners are willing to provide. Local manufacturers will often give away materials for free that can be used for DT projects or for work around the school; garden centres and pet stores can supply plants for curriculum projects or landscaping and pet food or accessories for the school guinea pigs or chickens; supermarkets will offer free catering for special events, especially if it’s to support a networking event; hotels will provide free conference facilities for workshops, networking meetings or revision classes; local engineering rms can run free after-school activities teaching pupils how to solder or use 3D printers. One key area for both businesses

and careers advisers is the preparation of young people for the world of work, and many HR professionals are very willing to come in and share their expertise on CV writing, job applications and interview techniques. Encouraging this level of support

and engagement, especially through a business partnership programme, is not an easy task, and requires a number of factors to be a success...

Make it personal Find – or be – the right person to co-ordinate your partnership links. Every school that is already engaging successfully with businesses will tell you that personal relationships are paramount. Businesses are more likely to get involved in the life of a school if they have a reliable contact that they trust. The right person

needs to have the time, energy, vision and people skills to make it work – and, ultimately, the belief that business involvement is indispensable in aiding a young person’s progression into employment.

What’s in it for them? Be clear in your mind why you are setting up a partnership programme – and what you can offer your business partners in return. It is the students who will benet

most from interacting with local businesses. They will be able to take part in exciting and relevant activities, but they will also be made aware of which businesses are operating locally and what options there are for work in the area. Any relationship they form with an employer offers a better chance of employment after leaving school. This is where the businesses also

benet. The bottom line for them is to nd and hire new talent. Give them the chance to talent-spot outstanding young people while they’re still at school, and a business can save themselves time and money later in the recruitment and training process.

Use existing links Your school will undoubtedly have already worked with a number of businesses over the years. Pull together all the contacts you have, particularly if you have a database of businesses you’ve used for work experience. Your School Business Manager will have details of

FundEd SPRING 2016 45

Sam Baker, Head of Business Studies at Mark Rutherford School, explains the true value of building business partnerships


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