2.4 million boost from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills

A successful nationwide scheme which helps to improve the employability and academic achievement of young people is coming to thanks to a 2.4 million boost from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) announced by HRH the Prince of Wales earlier this year. This scheme, Business Class, creates long-term partnerships between leading businesses and schools in some of the UK s most deprived areas. The charity behind the scheme Business in the Community (one of HRH the Prince of Wales charities) is now calling for business and schools from across Cambridge, Fenland and Kings Lynn to join the programme and help to raise the aspirations of local young people.

Business Class is a unique collaborative model which enables clusters of businesses to bring their skills and expertise to support schools in a local area within structured three year partnerships.

Over 230 secondary schools across the UK benefit from the scheme, supported by over 140 leading businesses. There are already several successful local clusters of work in Cambridge. The UKCES funding will enable BITC to expand Business Class into 135 more partnerships across the UK.

Business Class is an initiative of Business in the Community (BITC) that works together with some 850 member companies to raise awareness of responsible business and its transformational impact on communities, individuals and businesses, and encourage more businesses to tackle some of the most pressing social and environmental issues.

Business in the Community believes that businesses have a huge role to play in equipping young people with the right skills, aspirations and motivation to succeed in education and the workplace and are urging businesses in Cambridge, Fenland and Kings Lynn to step forward and offer their support to local schools through Business Class.

The programme gives responsible businesses the opportunity to support head-teachers to achieve their strategic priorities, by providing business expertise, mentors and volunteers as well as inspirational experiences for pupils. This leads to accelerated school improvement and ensures that young people leave school with the skills they need to build successful working lives.

Faye Ramsson, Education Campaign Director, Business in the Community said: Partnering with a school is one of the most effective ways that business can make a difference in their community so we hope business and schools will take this opportunity to form sustained partnerships. Business Class makes a difference because it creates genuine long term partnerships which consider the needs of the whole school.

Partner businesses work with schools in a variety of ways, from offering guidance on business planning and mentoring teachers to specific student support such as CV writing, interview skills, literacy and maths.

She continued: There has been fantastic take-up of schools and business joining Business Class across the country and it s making a real difference, particularly around inspiring young people about the world of work and connecting them with opportunities to learn from potential employers and gain work experience.

We re excited to now be able to bring the scheme to this area and encourage all secondary schools and businesses to get involved.

Mark Cooper, from the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership, said: I have witnessed the BITC enabled partnership between local business Dalehead Foods and Linton Village College, which showcases the benefits of improving the economic awareness of our young people, and been very impressed by the results.

I welcome any initiative that fits so well with our LEP Strategy for Skills and would encourage local businesses to engage with BITC wherever possible.

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2.4 million boost from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills

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