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Schools cluster together to get pupils ready for the workplace

Twelve heads are better than one: this is the thinking behind the grouping of six schools and six businesses across the South Wales Valleys who have got together to maximise the benefits of school-business collaborations.

The six schools are enthusiastic participants in Business Class, a tried and tested programme developed by Business in the Community and delivered in Wales by Careers Wales. 

Similarly, the six companies involved are looking forward to working on the programme, which builds lasting partnerships between businesses and schools across Wales.

One-to-one partnerships between schools and businesses in Wales are flourishing under Business Class , with 60 partnerships now established. Those involved report that both businesses and schools benefit enormously from working together. Pupils have the opportunity to learn about the workplace and it teaches them skills necessary for real-life. Companies involved play a part in developing their future workforce and engage directly with a wide range of tomorrow’s employees.

The RCT cluster will meet regularly and is currently putting together an innovative plan which will benefit all schools across the region by exploiting the wide range of expertise from all the companies and schools involved. 

Chair of the RCT Business Class Cluster is James Harper, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Principality Building Society:

“Working one-to-one has proved fantastically successful and this amalgamation of six partnerships will strengthen our impact even further.  We all have extensive and varied experiences on subjects ranging from literacy programmes to apprenticeships or staging mock-interviews to identifying what skills the workforce is looking for. 

"We have an enormous wealth of knowledge between us and the cluster mechanism means we can share best practice, collaborate across a range of industries and increase our impact that much further.  In short, we know an awful lot between us and can learn how to make Business Class even more far-reaching and effective.”

Matt Appleby, Director of Business in the Community Cymru, said:

“The cluster structure is one of the things that makes Business Class work so well.  It supports collaboration and enhances the impact of the partnerships.  It means that schools have access to the expertise and skills of not just their business partner but others in different sectors too, and businesses have the opportunity to work with other schools and to learn from successful activities in other partnerships.

“Clusters foster a culture of sharing and collaboration and are a brilliant example of what can be achieved when we work together. The RCT cluster brings together a whole range of experiences from those working in retail, the media, finance and construction.  Its range of skills is incredibly broad.

“James Harper’s enthusiasm and experience means that the RCT cluster is in safe and innovative hands and I’m sure that he will inspire others to take up the mantel of leading other clusters across Wales.”

Richard Spear, Chief Executive of Careers Wales, added:

“The Business Class programme has expanded significantly over the last year and can now boast nearly 50 partnerships spread across the whole of Wales. 

The establishment of clusters such as RCT, where numerous partnerships get to share, strengthen and amplify the work being done to prepare pupils for the future workplace, makes sure that resources are maximised.  Experience, ideas, resources and contacts are shared far and wide, ensuring that the widest number of pupils possible benefit from cluster partners’ knowledge and expertise.”