Education in Focus - Responsible Business in Action


Business in the Community’s role in education is to support our members to have the greatest possible impact in partnership with schools. Careers inspiration is important. Our challenge to any business collaborating with schools is to inspire young people to think about working for you – what are you doing to make sure they have the skills they need to thrive, whatever job they choose? 

Essential skills such as leadership, teamwork, creativity and problem solving are vital skills for every young person, and every business. Leading businesses, including our awards finalists BP, KPMG and Hogan Lovells, are using Skills Builder to support young people with essential skills. A.F. Blakemore have partnered with a special school to build skills and access a new pool of talent, and PwC have used their education programme to improve social mobility.

Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are half as likely to get crucial GCSE grades than their wealthier peers. This is a huge waste of talent, and we can play our part in mending what is broken to help every child thrive.   

We want to level the playing field and tackle the attainment gap. Every business can get involved in teaching and learning, building essential skills as well as supporting teachers with learning and attainment. We will make the most of our strength in numbers to grow the talent pool we all rely on.    

Our campaigns
The Skills Builder Partnership supports young people to develop essential skills such as leadership, teamwork and creativity. Email to update us on the action you have taken on essential skills.  

Our toolkit Playing Fair - Guidance for schools and businesses collaborating on curriculum-based projects, provide guidance to business on how to support teachers and young people with curriculum attainment. We are calling on all businesses to collaborate to support the teaching of English, modern foreign languages, history, geography, music and all subjects across the curriculum, alongside the vital focus on science, technology, engineering and maths

Headlines from the Finalists for Business in the Community's Responsible Business Awards 2019 - Education Partnerships Award

1. Companies target ‘coldspots’
More firms are choosing to support those living in the UK’s most socially disadvantaged areas. For example, AF Blakemore & Son, a food retail, wholesale and distribution company, is helping to boost employment in the West Midlands where unemployment stands at 14.5% among 16-24-year-olds (compared to the UK average of 11.7%). In London Hogan Lovells, an international law firm, has focused its efforts in Islington, where 35% of children under 16 live in low-income households.

2. Volunteering schemes boost internal skills
For employees, volunteering time, experiences and insights can boost personal development. AF Blakemore & Son’s Branching Out programme is now “an integral part of how we develop skills and new learning experiences for colleagues,” says the company’s group HR & strategy director, Ian Diment. At KPMG, a professional service company, has made education a strategic imperative.
3. Building STEM skills is crucial
The STEM skills gap in the UK is well documented, with the types of young people choosing science and technology subjects at school unchanged for decades. BP has vowed to change the situation, improving post-16 participation in science by investing £4.3 million over five years to support STEM uptake.
4. Partnerships are about talent-pipeline building too
Hogan Lovells works in Islington to address the skills gap of young people in the local community – something it sees as being crucial to developing a pipeline of future workers.
6. Impact targets are significant
The steps companies are taking to support young people through their education partnerships are based on creating positive impact where it is most needed in the UK. But it is also about reaching far and wide. PwC, a multinational professional services network, set a five-year target to help 25,000 young people to develop their workplace skills. KPMG has dedicated 184,000 hours of employee time to the cause during the last four years – and by 2022, it will have reached 65,000 young people.
7. Work experience is an important offering
Not only are companies getting young people ready for the world of work by inspiring them and giving them new skills, but some are also linking their education partnerships with work experience placements. PwC has also seen an increase in the number of individuals from lower socio-economic backgrounds applying for and gaining a place on its work experience scheme, increasing from 84 places to 156.