Call for businesses to boost Yorkshire pupils’ job prospects

Businesses throughout Yorkshire are being urged to sign up to a nationwide programme overseen by Prince Charles to help young people gain the right skills to 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.

The aim of the initiative is for businesses to support schools in both the classroom and at management level by providing their corporate expertise, mentoring pupils, supplying volunteers and creating inspirational experiences for students.

To date, KPMG, PwC UK, Squire Sanders (UK) LLP, Irwin Mitchell, DLA Piper, Miller Construction, Wates, International Personal Finance, Carillion, Sheffield Insulation Group and Marshalls plc, have signed up to partner with schools and academies in Leeds, Doncaster, Sheffield, Wakefield, Bradford, Hull and Huddersfield.

Liz Needleman, area director of BITC England East, said:

“Research highlights that 30 per cent of UK employers attribute lack of skills in the workforce to difficulties when filling entry-level vacancies.

“The programme enables young people to acquire the skills employers need and provides a framework for powerful strategic collaborations between schools and local businesses.”

Mary-Jo Daly, assistant head teacher of curriculum at Almondbury High School, Huddersfield, which has partnered with landscape specialists Marshalls plc, said:

“It is vitally important that we prepare students for the real world of work.

“To do this, we need businesses to actively engage in schools, raise aspirations and help students understand and focus on what is needed to get a job and keep it. Business class provides that focus.”

Chris Harrop, group marketing director of Marshalls plc, said:

“I am delighted that we are now partnered with Almondbury High School – the first Business Class partnership in Huddersfield.

“We’re already working with business studies students on a module about our company.”

Business Class is a government-endorsed programme, created and run by BITC which provides a systematic framework for businesses to support young people facing social disadvantage by forming long-term partnerships with schools.

There are currently 340 Business Class partnerships across the UK and the aim is to build 500 partnerships by 2015 which will positively impact on the lives of over 75,000 young people.

To find out how to become involved in Business Class please contact Julie Cullen at or call 0113 2058200.

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