This article was submitted by BITC Cymru
Business and education leaders from across Wales got together this week at Business in the Community Cymru’s first Business-Education Symposium – and it wasn’t just about policy and planning.
The event, hosted by BBC Wales’ Lucy Owen, was sponsored by Welsh Government and hosted by the Principality Building Society and held at Principality Stadium on 4 July. It proved an invaluable forum for leaders in the fields of education and commerce to network and share experiences.
In addition to being a platform for innovative ideas in partnership working, the event offered 12 young people a full day’s hands-on work experience. Pupils from Ysgol y Strade shadowed the day’s organisers and were supported by their Principality Building Society mentors. They got involved in all aspects of event management including:
- Composing live blogs in Welsh and English
- Giving social media support
- Learning how to meet, greet and host
- Working as assistants to a professional photographer
- Supporting the technical audio-visual team
Another element of the day was the first screening of five new short films bringing to life different Business Class partnerships – where a secondary school and a business join forces for mutual benefit – from across Wales. The findings of research into the Business Class programme, a research project carried out by Swansea University, were also revealed on the day.
Matt Appleby, Director of Business in the Community Cymru, said:
“We practised what we preach at our Business-Education Symposium. We know the benefits that experiencing the work environment can deliver by boosting young people’s skills and confidence before they enter the workplace.
The symposium was ideal opportunity for us to put the idea into practice, to enthuse young people about the world of work – and let them have a lot of fun at the same time. It made perfect sense to hold our education event with young people at the heart of it and we’re thrilled that they rolled up their sleeves there on the day.
Similarly, our Business Class films were a fantastic way of showing how businesses and schools are benefiting from these collaborations. And who better to tell us this than the partners themselves?”
Steve Hughes, Chief Executive Officer at Principality Building Society, said:
“Responsible Businesses nowadays recognise the importance of working with the workforce of tomorrow. We need the young people of Wales to be fully prepared for the world of work and it is therefore central to Principality’s ethos that we engage with educators to ensure that they know what skills and attributes businesses need. And that is why we are proud to be sponsoring BITC Cymru’s first Education Symposium.
“Schools, colleges and business need to work in tandem to ensure that the future workforce in Wales is made up of skilled and informed young people. This, in turn, is what will ensure Wales’ future prosperity. My personal career started as an accounting apprentice and I am personally committed to building stronger relationships between young people and business. I know there is so much potential out there”.
Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education, added:
“Young people need to be aware of the range of job opportunities available, and to understand the skills and behaviours needed to succeed in a competitive labour market. Our new curriculum will be based around four purposes, one of which is to develop ‘enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work’.
“Schools have a vital role to play in connecting young people with employers and the Business Class programme, overseen by BITC Cymru and Careers Wales, can only help strengthen these links for many years to come.”