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FSB Yorkshire members engaging with schools

A recent survey conducted by North Yorkshire Business & Enterprise Partnership (NYBEP) on behalf of FSB has revealed that around 40% of members release staff to support schools with careers activities. The support comes in many forms, helping link careers to the curriculum, attending careers events and providing work experience placements.

The study was part of a pilot project to undertake research looking at the engagement of FSB members in schools and colleges. The key aim of the research was to develop several case studies with members that illustrated the ways that small businesses are delivering meaningful encounters with schools and colleges to inform/support FSB’s education policy work.

These case studies were to capture how members are supporting schools with achieving the Gatsby Benchmarks. The pilot project focussed on three of the government designated Opportunity Areas in Yorkshire; North Yorkshire Coast, Bradford and Doncaster.

A series of questions were agreed, and these were circulated to members. In addition NYBEP utilised contacts as did the FSB Area Leads to identify case studies. In total, across the two Opportunity Areas 38 members engaged with the survey.

Members indicated that they had more engagement with students aged 15-19, however over 65% of members in Bradford indicated that they had engaged with Primary aged students. Of the members which had engaged with schools and colleges, most had engaged repeatedly, with all the members in Bradford saying that they had engaged more than 3 times.

Over 50% of members would like support with engaging further with schools. The areas they would like to offer to schools and colleges were captured as follows:
• Work Experience Placements
• Subject talks
• Supporting projects
• Support promoting self-employment the role of SME’s
• Support raising financial awareness

The majority of members were interested in supporting subject talks.
One of the members who participated in the study, Richard Askew of Askew Brook Ltd, a web development agency based in Scarborough, said “We were struggling to recruit in Scarborough so we wanted to try and change it. By helping students, we can show that a wide range of jobs are available in Scarborough”.

This pilot project has captured some of the ways in which members are engaging with schools, going forward it is hoped that this could provide a platform to further expand the case studies to include more information on how they linked up with the schools, this is highlighted as a challenge to some members, and perhaps a piece of work to equip/enable members to have access to information on the providers/opportunities that are delivering in schools across the opportunity areas – developing a toolkit to support FSB members or utilising the Give an Hour campaign that is being rolled out nationally via the Careers and Enterprise Company.