Persuading employers to help
Research suggests there is ‘…a real mismatch between employers’ expectations of young people during the recruitment process and young people’s understanding of what is expected of them’.
Bridging this gap can be achieved by bringing the worlds of employers and education closer. A partnership between school/college and employers can be mutually beneficial – a win/win arrangement – if done correctly. Building partnerships with local employers can enrich and enhance classroom learning, helping students to gain perspective on how their study relates to the world of work and giving them a glimpse of what is possible beyond school or college.
For the employer, traditional employer support for education usually centres on students experiences such as work experience placements, mock interviews, careers fairs and visiting as guest speakers. These activities often require significant time commitments and preparation, which many firms struggle to justify, particularly small businesses. So ‘what’s in it for the employer?’
The answer to this question may be PR coverage, raising the profile of their industry sector or gaining a platform from which to advertise future recruitment opportunities to students. For many companies, it is about giving their employees the opportunity to work alongside young people, giving them a rewarding addition to their normal working life. For the employer, success tends to look like a smile on a face, increased visibility for the profession or company brand in the local community, a desire to help with future projects … and often a new level of respect for the teaching profession!
There are many potential motivations for businesses - including small firms - to set aside the time and effort required to get involved with schools:
- PR and marketing opportunities within the community
- Recruitment opportunities and building talent pipelines
- Fresh ideas from young minds and new ways of thinking
- Staff and management development opportunities
- Reinforced corporate values and a more motivated workforce
- Engagement with, and contribution to, the local community
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