Schools need more employers to engage with them

12 April 2012

With national and local governments no longer heavily subsidising employer engagement in secondary schools, now is the right time for employers to get more directly involved, particularly those who can contribute in the science and technology.

There’s a strong demand for generic employer engagement across English schools.  In fact, according to a YouGov survey, just 1% of classroom teachers feel that there is too much employer engagement in English schools but 59% want more.

In particular, there’s very heavy demand for employer engagement in science and technology – over 92% of respondents said it was these subjects is where engagement would be most valued.  This and other data all point towards a clear conclusion: the great majority of schools value employer engagement highly so long as:

  • it’s easy
  • it’s relevant
  • low cost to deliver

The last two years have seen a significant change in the national delivery of employer engagement activities in England. Schools which had become accustomed to receiving much generic employer engagement at a cost heavily subsidised by national and local government are now required to cover full costs themselves at a time of tight school budgets.

Here are some examples of how you can get involved…

  • Develop digital learning resources around your company’s CSR aims in education yet tailored to the needs of the age group you are targeting and matched to the UK curriculum.
  • Participate in the STEMNET STEM Ambassadors scheme. In 2010, the NAO reported that 88% of secondaries took part in activities.
  • Encourage your staff to take part in mentoring of young people interested in STEM careers.
  • Offer work experience to local schools. Cambridge University Press is part of the BITC Business Class programme, but you can also work direct with schools in your area.
  • Offer schools equipment – primary schools in particular are crying out for materials to support science, and not lab equipment.
  • Remember that the last government’s careers research indicated that key stage 2 is a vital period in terms of children’s expectations. Don’t ignore your local primaries.