Big business missing out on education partnerships

Yesterday I went to Wycombe Museum as a guest of the Buckinghamshire Education Business Partnership, for a reception to recognise those who have been involved in BEBP’s enterprise projects. Simply these involve getting real businesses and business people linked up with schools, helping expose kids to the world of work, and to thinking about real world business issues. 

Buckinghamshire’s initiative is one of the best, and won a national award a while back that recognised it as being superior to other schemes around the country in what it has already achieved. Elton Boocock of Urban Media, who has been heavily involved, pointed out that the businesses involved have all given their time and expertise because they wanted to, but many have also received a great return from work placements and testing out potential new members of their teams. 

I myself helped to run a project at a school in Gerrards Cross, where teams of teenagers had to devise a new chocolate bar brand. They had to come up with a name, a brand concept, packaging – and then present their proposals. And all without resorting to a Powerpoint presentation. 

What struck me was how few large businesses were at the gathering. The BEBP team has done very well in harnessing networks such as the BRX breakfast networking groups, to find support from smaller, local businesses. But the big employers, some of whom complain of skills shortages and that school leavers are ill-equipped for the world of work, were conspicuous by their absence. Come on, guys.


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