5.3. Partnerships - employers and businesses
Awareness and understanding of the world of work is integral to education and is best achieved through businesses and schools working in partnership. Such partnerships produce significant benefits for all involved: most importantly, they benefit young people’s awareness and experience of the world of work, their understanding of job demands and employer expectations, and the relevance of schooling to employer needs.
Businesses have an important role to play in supporting career choices and in enriching the learning experience for young people. Building partnerships between businesses and schools at a local level can help to:
- increase the flexibility and timing of work experience opportunities so that more quality placements can be arranged throughout the school year and can be integrated throughout education;
- ensure closer links between curricular content and school-based learning opportunities and ‘real world’ business needs;
- provide up-to-date information about careers in their sectors and raise the profile of careers;
- facilitate school-to-work transition;
- help learners to develop appropriately high aspirations about the careers they can access and to understand the skills and qualifications they need to access these.
There are many different ways in which local employers and businesses can support local schools, including:
- helping schools to develop relevant curricular materials
- career talks in schools
- site visits
- short-term traineeships and work experience
- fundraising, sponsorship and donating equipment and
- support for extracurricular activities and extended learning
There are benefits for all the parties involved when businesses and schools work together. Young people can gain a valuable and realistic insight into the world of work and understand how they can build transferable knowledge, skills and competences. This experience can raise learner’s aspirations and motivation, improve self-confidence, help them stay in education and thus improve their life chances.
Businesses and schools are able to get a better understanding of their expectations of learners, and make the learning experience authentic. They can also get new ideas and views from the learners about their work and processes.
It is, however, important for businesses and schools to understand and overcome respective challenges they may face when working in partnership. These may include time and resource constraints, and the need to communicate information around the areas of regulation, health and safety.