Hadley Group: Raising the employability of pupils in a disadvantaged locality

Bank of America Merrill Lynch Education Award

Based in the West Midlands, Hadley Groups’ involvement with local education is focussed on the mutually beneficial objective of raising the employability of pupils in a disadvantaged locality via a three-point programme; to raise achievement of pupils, to improve skills for work and to improve cohesion.

Business Impacts

  • Hadley Group’s apprentice scheme has seen an increase of 100% in applications over the past 3 years from Alexandra High School, their applications made up 10% of the total in 2011.
  • Absenteeism in those employees who take part in CSR activities has decreased by 73%
  • Through working with the school Hadley employees have had the opportunity to develop skills such as leadership, project management and presentation skills

Social Impacts

  • The percentage of pupils attaining 5 or more grades of A*-C at GCSE has risen from 21% in 2007 to 50% in 2011. Alexandra High is one of the top 50 “Most improved Schools” within the Country
  • The current Alexandra High School leaver unemployment rate is 6%, Local Authority rate is 34%
  • The school attendance rate has improved from 88% to 92%

Hadley Groups’ UK operations are located within Sandwell Local Authority, ranked the 12th most deprived area in England (2011), with low levels of employment, wages and qualifications. More specifically, it is an area which exhibits the West Midlands regions’ highest levels of youth unemployment (34%) and the lowest levels of educational attainment.

Alexandra High School has a close and ongoing involvement with the Hadley Group. They have extensively contributed to pupil development at all levels of the organisation and as such have had both a positive impact on our results and on increasing the employability of our pupils.

- I W Binnie Head teacher,
Alexandra High School and Sixth Form Centre


Having first met local schools through a Seeing is Believing Visit hosted by Business in the Community in October 2007, Hadley Group decided to focus its education work in partnership with these Sandwell Schools. The focus of Hadley’s programme is threefold, to raise pupil employability in the local area and for Hadley Group to improve the skills base and work-ready pool in its locality whilst also developing the skills of existing employees.

The majority of Hadley Groups delivery has been invested in activities at Alexandra High School (AHS), their main partner within Sandwell. Since 2009, Hadley Group have invested over 750 man-hours at the school, providing a wide range of support from a competition to promote attendance to work experience placements.  It is not only the school that benefits from the programme Hadley Group has a business strategy to increase its local recruits, currently at 53% of its workforce. Through engagement with Alexandra High it has been able to support the up-skilling of this candidate pool and promote the Hadley Employer Brand. These activities also support their employees gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the local community, making them an employer of choice within the area.