Leeds business leaders have taken action to address employability skills in the city – joining a nationwide programme overseen by Prince Charles to help young people enter the job market.
Business Class, run by the charity Business in the Community (BITC), has been designed to bring together companies and schools in some of the UK’s most deprived areas.
At a ‘Prince’s Seeing is Believing’ visit organised by BITC and led by Sarah Day, managing partner at DLA Piper, attendees witnessed first-hand how employee volunteer programmes continue to benefit pupils at Lawnswood School in Leeds and Swallow Hill Community College in Armley with peer support, reading mentors – and interaction with employers.
The visit was attended by Business in the Community’s new regional HRH Ambassador, Andy Clarke, president and CEO of Asda Stores Ltd, and local senior figures from Galliford Try, NG Bailey, Santander UK, Morrisons Supermarket Plc, Deloitte LLP, DLA Piper UK, HSBC, Syngenta and CBI.
Speaking at the event, Sarah Day said: “The diversity of activities that the Business Class partners are involved with in their schools really fires the imagination and has opened my mind to the many different ways in which all businesses, no matter the size or sector, can get involved.”
Liz Needleman, area director of BITC England East, said: “Research shows that young people who undertake employer engagement activities are more likely to stay in education, employment or training. The Business Class programme enables young people to acquire the skills employers need and provides a framework for powerful strategic collaborations between schools and local companies.”
Business Class is a BITC programme approved by Government, Ofsted and the UK Commission of Employment & Skills (UKCES) and is supported by over 400 businesses and schools nationally.