Businesses and schools work together to make the grade!
Businesses and schools from across Belfast joined forces on Wednesday 25 April] to discover how they can work together strategically for the benefit of both through Business in the Community’s Business Class programme.
Business Class Programme Manager, Emma Morrison, explains: “Business Class is an exciting initiative creating a sea-change in the way businesses work with post primary schools.
“Business in the Community has pioneered it in Northern Ireland. Following the pilot, we are now poised to widen the programme and create new clusters of schools and businesses working in partnership.
“The support given by businesses focuses on the school as a whole and is led by what that school and its pupils need. Detailed needs analyses of the schools are carried out by Business in the Community to ensure they are matched with the right business expertise. The businesses involved offer mentoring, work experience, advice, guidance and use of facilities.”
Taking place at St Rose’s Dominican College, Belfast the briefing was attended by the Education Minister, John O’Dowd who said: “I welcome the opportunity to attend today’s event to further understand the impact Business Class is having by joining specific businesses with particular schools.
“It is very important that young people are equipped with the skills they need in order to become valued and valuable members of society later in life, and getting involved with the world of business can help deliver that key learning. I am encouraged by the achievements of the Business Class pilot scheme so far and wish the programme every success in the future as more schools take part. I commend Business in the Community for their work in facilitating the partnerships and pay tribute to the companies, schools and the young people who have enjoyed the programme so far.”
In the pioneering trials, the evidence of impact is undeniable. Examples include:
Over the period of a school term, Chesapeake worked with Newtownabbey Community High School to help tackle the issue of students who struggled to make it to school for even two days a week. By contributing bus passes for the worst cases, Chesapeake has contributed to a significant improvement in attendance. The next goal is a punctuality project to get the kids to school on time.
With only 22% of girls at St Rose’s Dominican College passing their Maths GCSEs, much work needed to be done to improve attainment levels. Mathematical brainiacs from Invest NI took up the challenge by providing 1:1 mentoring for pupils who were struggling. The aim was to make maths fun and inspire the girls to recognise the relevance of this subject. Invest NI sees this initiative as a win/win for staff with a Maths or Finance background as it gives them the opportunity for self-development through mentoring.
If your business or school would like to get involved in Business Class, please contact email@example.com or call (028) 9046 0606.
For more information on Business in the Community, visit our website www.bitcni.org.uk
Pictured: Education Minister, John O’Dowd with (left-right) Theresa McNamee, Principal, St Rose’s Dominican College, Eleanor Lee, Marketing Director at Northgate Managed Services and (far right) Jill Crawford from Business in the Community see how businesses and schools can work more effectively together through BITC’s Business Class programme for the benefit of students such as Ciara Mallon & Celine Maxwell (also pictured).