Vivienne Saunders and Sian Gresswell: Ikano Group and Nottingham Academy

'By using the Business Class model both organisations were able to go through a set out and systematic approach to correctly identify where we could have the most impact.'

Siân Gresswell, Head of Year 10, Nottingham Academy and Vivienne Saunders, Communications Manager, Ikano Group.

Pupils have given very positive feedback about all sessions and all learnt incredibly useful life skills during the workshops. Some also fed back that they had enjoyed going home and teaching their parents about what they had learnt.

- Siân Gresswell,
Head of Year 10, Nottingham Academy

Siân says:

From a schools perspective I believe it is incredibly important to create links and build partnerships with local businesses to give our pupils the opportunity to learn more about the world of work and the skills they will need as they move forward with their lives. 

Martin Waring, our extended opportunities manager, introduced me to Steve Little from Business in the Community and Vivienne Saunders from Ikano about two years ago. From our initial meeting we discussed different ways in which we could work together and agreed to initially work on delivering a financial literacy programme to our year 10 business studies pupils. 

Cheese Matters was delivered to 110 year 10 pupils, and then rolled out to all 230 of our year 9 pupils with the aim of teaching them about the importance of managing their personal finances. The plan is to deliver Cheese Matters to our year 9 cohort each year. We are currently developing another programme called 'how to be a superhero', focusing on employability skills for our year 10 pupils. 

Being involved in a Business Class partnership with Ikano has created invaluable opportunities for our pupils. Pupils not only have the benefit of being taught about important life skills by experienced business professionals, they also have the opportunity to find out about local businesses and employment opportunities as well what employers are looking for. Pupils have given very positive feedback about all sessions and all learnt incredibly useful life skills during the workshops. Some also fed back that they had enjoyed going home and teaching their parents about what they had learnt. They were also inspired to hear about different businesses and different career possibilities.

Vivienne says:

At Ikano we have a strong conviction that we should use our expertise to target the areas that need support within our local community – education and financial literacy are two very important topics. We also knew we would not be able to go out there on our own and find the ‘right causes’.

We needed help, support and guidance to start conversations with the right partner school. By using the Business Class model we were able to go through a well set out and systematic approach to correctly identify where we could have the most impact. Feedback from the volunteers who have kindly given up their time to go in to the school and deliver sessions is all very positive, and they enjoy the challenge of delivering a workshop to a group of teenagers.