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Teachers and businesses come together to tackle Bristol’s skills gap

An event in Bristol has helped improve teachers’ knowledge of local career opportunities and the skills needed to access them, potentially improving the employment prospects of thousands of young people.

On the 13th September, teachers and businesses across Bristol joined forces to discuss the skills gap affecting the region, at an event organised by Business in the Community (BITC).

According to the CBI’s latest Skills Survey, many young people still leave school without the solid educational foundations needed for success in work and life. On the academic side alone, more than a third of candidates did not achieve a grade C or better in GCSE English (39.8%) and maths (39%).

The survey also found that by far the most important factor employers consider when recruiting school and college leavers is their attitude to work (86%), followed by their aptitude for work (63%) and general academic ability (43%).

In response to this, the event was organised by BITC to give businesses a platform to talk to teachers about how they can equip their pupils with the skills they need to succeed in the world of work.

This event, held at independent UK law firm Burges Salmon’s Bristol headquartered office, is part of BITC’s Business Class programme, which matches schools and businesses to create mutually beneficial partnerships to support young people in a range of ways, including bringing real life examples into the classroom and supporting their teachers to better understand the workplace.

In addition to this event, Bristol businesses met earlier this year to tackle the high levels of youth unemployment in the city at BITC’s Future Proof Assembly, which was held as part of its Future Proof campaign, backed by the City & Guilds Group.

Hayliegh Beckles, Education Manager at BITC, says: “By helping teachers better understand the workplace and how to access it, the businesses involved in today’s event are potentially increasing the employment prospects of thousands of young people across Bristol.

“Many teachers went straight from school to university before going back to schools and have limited experience of workplace needs and recruitment practices outside of education. By upskilling teachers, we can help them better support and advise young people. It’s also a win for the businesses who are building their talent pipeline for the future.”

Catherine Correia, CR Manager at Burges Salmon, comments: “Last school year, Burges Salmon supported hundreds of young people at Fairfield High School through BITC’s Business Class programme, as well as engaging more through our Bright Sparks Work Experience programme and our Law Information Days. We are proud to host this Teachers’ Careers Information Event, the first of its kind, which will enable thousands more young people to benefit from the input of businesses.

“We have collaborated with other Bristol based businesses to plan and deliver sessions that will enhance teachers’ knowledge of local opportunities and the skills needed to access them. These teachers can then pass this information on to thousands of students, helping young people across the city to be better prepared for the workplace.”

Bristol’s teacher’s workshop was held by BITC as a pilot event, following which the business plans to roll out the workshops nationally.