Solent businesses hear about successes of Business Class

A Breakfast Briefing hosted by The Southern Co-operative at their Portsmouth offices gave business leaders an opportunity to learn more about Business in the Community’s flagship education programme, Business Class.

The Southern Co-operative

This breakfast briefing showed that there is some fantastic work all ready going on across the Solent region to enhance the future employability prospects of young people. It was valuable to hear about some of the initiatives which are already helping to connect the education and private sectors. It is vital that businesses take action to work with schools as these are the source of our future talent pool. We need to ensure that as the local economy develops local young people are in a position to secure those positions.

- Mark Smith,
CEO, The Southern Co-operative
During the session delegates shared their experience of working with the education sector and heard about the current challenges facing young people.

Mark Smith, CEO, The Southern Co-operative introduced the session, speaking about the importance of doing business responsibly, and how business and society benefit from building long-term partnerships. He shared his vision of how local employers can work together through the Business Class model to raise the aspirations of young people and enhance their future employability prospects. 

Also speaking was Kevin Baker, Assistant Headteacher at Woodlands Community College, Southampton, which is in a Business Class partnership with Wates Group.  Kevin discussed the current challenges facing young people and explained how the partnership had helped them to address some of the schools key needs.

From weekly mentoring sessions to filling a governor position, the variety of support that has been provided has allowed the school to address its key priorities whilst providing Wates with a structured plan of engagement. The school's academic results and attendance rates have improved during the partnership.

Woodlands is one of three Business Class partnerships in the area, but Business in the Community are now looking to expand the programme across the Solent area.

There are currently over 230 Business Class partnerships across the UK, supported by over 145 companies including BP, Jaguar Land Rover, Prudential, and Wates Group. Business in the Community's funding for the programme comes from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), helping that organisation achieve an aim of supporting employers in leading the development of the skills they need to create jobs and drive enterprise and economic growth.

For more information about Business Class in the South East, contact Mike Brophy, Business Development Director on 07739 082426.

Find out more about Business Class.


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