Business leaders return to school

Business leaders gathered at Portchester Community School to discover how their organisations can take action to address skill shortages and enhance the employability of young people.

The Business Class programme will enable schools and industry to work closer together and help address future skill gaps here in the Solent region

- Mark Smith,
Chief Executive at The Southern Co-operative
Education is the single biggest strategic issue facing the UK today. Nearly 40% of firms looking for staff with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills have had difficulties recruiting, and about half thought the situation was only going to get worse.

As chair of Business in the Community’s education programme in the Solent area Mark Smith, Chief Executive of The Southern Co-operative, led the visit to the school, showcasing how employers can enhance the curriculum and bring the world of work into the classroom. Representatives from organisations including Carillion, the University of Portsmouth and Fasset attended the event.

Following a tour of the school delegates took part in a networking session where they spoke with students to discuss their future aims and aspirations. Students were also able to gain an insight to the business leaders own career paths.

The Southern Co-operative has recently commenced a 3 year partnership with Portchester Community School and will be working on a number of initiatives like this to support teachers, students and the wider community.

Commenting on the session Steve Harvey, Business Manager at Portchester Community said ‘We were delighted to welcome businesses from across the Solent region to the school and showcase the great work of students and staff. The school is looking forward to building links with The Southern Co-operative through Business in the Community’s Business Class programme. Todays networking session is just one example of how businesses can make a difference to young people’.

Businesses interested in partnering with a secondary school in the Portsmouth and Southampton area can contact Nikki Wakefield, Education Manager at Business in the Community on 023 9241 5761.

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