Talking points: Terms of engagement

The Learning and Skills Development Agency (LSDA) is campaigning industry on the basis that getting involved with education makes good business sense.

At a basic level, industry can build links with local schools and colleges to ensure provision matches employer need, but the LSDA emphasises the scope for more innovative partnership, with some employers already engaging in joint ventures with colleges. We asked readers to identify the benefits.

Keith Donnelly, Business development manager, Carillion
We recruit apprentices for the construction industry and network with a number of local schools. We have our own technical training college getting kids to look at construction as an industry, and actually bringing them into an industrial training environment brings realism to their perception of work. It’s good for community relations.

In other ways, there’s a big push in the public sector to build schools for the future, so being in the construction industry, it can enhance our core business.

Ruth Martin, Young people development manager, Land Rover
We have dedicated centres staffed by [external] education specialists to work on site with educational visits for young people from Key Stage 1 to higher education.

The centres organise work experience for 14 to 19-year-olds and we also have employees go out and support educational establishments – anything from conducting trial interviews and business challenge events to “imagi-neering” in all aspects that support our business.

Mark Wakefield, Corporate community relations manager, IBM
We have an extensive set of global programmes focusing on education. One of the primary drivers is our aware-ness that we increasingly need well-educated, well-trained people – both to sustain the knowledge-based society we now live in and IBM as a company.

For example, Reinventing Education is a research and development programme looking at how we can assist teachers to share effective practice between schools.

Our Kid Smart programme is introducing technology into early years provision.

Derrick East, Managing director, Accolade Building Services
We have a continuous dialogue with colleges where building services engineering courses are taught, but the relationship between employers and schools.

We feel it’s valuable to give pupils an insight into what work is like.

Many employers want to give feedback on what they need to produce in the way of skills, but schools tend not to be that interested. They see education as some thing that should remain pure, untainted.





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