Bridging the Gap with education

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The results of a recent British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) survey suggest the south west is ahead of the majority of the UK when it comes to bridging the gap between education and business.

The Business and Education survey is a key part of the BCC’s ‘Bridging the Gap’ campaign. Over 3,500 business and education leaders were surveyed as part of the UK-wide consultation.

91% of education leaders surveyed in the south west said that their school, college or university, partners with businesses or organisations for activities such as work experience, mentoring, careers weeks and Young Enterprise. For London, that figure was just 61%.

Sam Wardman, Young Enterprise manager in Cornwall, said: “At Young Enterprise we make business relevant to the daily lives of young people.

“Our programmes spark their energy and enthusiasm, helping them to discover their individual talents and skills they cannot learn from a textbook.”

The south west came out top for its pre-16 work experience opportunities at 63%, compared to a 45% national average. It was also ahead of the national average for giving talks on business to pupils/students, and for its use of Education Business Partnerships as an effective resource.

Cornwall Chamber chief executive, Kim Conchie, said: “It’s fantastic that the south west figures in this survey are so positive – we have some fantastic organisations in Cornwall that put their heart and soul into getting the next generation ready for the working world.”

Despite the positive figures for the south west, eight out of ten secondary schools believe they are effective at offering all types of careers guidance, but all businesses surveyed thought careers guidance needs reform.

Conchie added: “There’s still a long way to go and this is a much needed campaign from the BCC. Cornwall Chamber of Commerce is working hard to pair up employers and educators, and we have seven events coming up between now and March, in which 16-25 year olds will get to meet local businesses and talk careers.”