Swindon businesses sign up to support local schools in government-backed education programme

By Anita Jaynes on 25 November, 2015

Foodservice provider, BaxterStorey and facilities management company, Carillion have been announced as the latest major employers in Swindon to join Business Class, a government-endorsed education programme led by Business in the Community, the Prince’s Responsible Business Network.

Creating effective and mutually beneficial partnerships between businesses and secondary schools facing challenging circumstances, Business Class is BITC’s flagship education initiative.

The programme ensures that students facing social disadvantage are best equipped to achieve their goals and build successful working lives by establishing relationships driven by the needs of the school as well as the priorities, resources and capacity of the business.

BITC has also confirmed that BaxterStorey has been partnered with the Uplands Educational Trust College, with confirmation of Carillion’s partner school expected imminently.

Graham Olds, Regional Director at BaxterStorey, said: “We see our contribution in supporting the Uplands Educational Trust College as an opportunity to share our skills and experience with those who need it most. As a business, we place great emphasis on supporting the communities in which we operate and see this partnership as an ideal platform to go that one step further.”

Genti Mullaliu, Headteacher at the Uplands Educational Trust College, said: “We are delighted to be in partnership with BaxterStorey, we share the same ambition of equipping young people with special educational needs with the right skills for the world of work. We strongly believe in the partnership between employment and education to enable young people to help themselves with their future employment decisions and BaxterStorey is an ideal partner to support us in achieving our aims.”

Joe McGuffie, Account Director at Carillion, also based at Nationwide House, said: “We are committed to ‘making tomorrow a better place’; providing services and creating places that bring lasting benefits to our customers and the communities in which we live and work.  Business class is a perfect project for us to be involved in and it’s a privilege to be able to guide and support young people into future employment possibilities within the Swindon area.”

Annabel Wallis, Education Manager for Business in the Community in Swindon, said: “It is fantastic to have both BaxterStorey and Carillion on board with our Business Class programme and we look forward to the exciting plans that the partners create in the coming months.

“The companies will provide a three-year package of free support to their partnered school across a range of areas which, through a detailed needs assessment process, the school has identified as most pressing. Businesses also work in geographical clusters, offering support on wide ranging issues such as governorship, head teacher mentoring, change management, attendance support, employability activities and curriculum enrichment.”

The other local businesses signed up to the Business Class programme in Swindon are Nationwide and Synergy Health. Schools partnered with these businesses include Churchfields Academy, Swindon Academy and Isambard Community School.

Across the UK, more than 470 schools have been involved in Business Class, supported by over 1,000 businesses (a third of which are SMEs), helping 170,000 young people.

With ambition to grow the programme to include 11 secondary schools in the town, BITC is calling for more businesses across Swindon to establish such partnerships with schools to support the town’s young people to build successful working lives.

To find out more, visit www.bitc.org.uk/programmes/business-class or email annabel.wallis@bitc.org.uk

Pictured above: Annabel Wallis, Education Manager for Business in the Community in Swindon