Pathways to higher standards

June 01, 1993

Pathways to higher standards

June 01 1993

by Mike Tuffrey

The state of the nation’s schools continues to dominate the headlines. A new campaign to get businesses more involved, previewed in the last edition of Community Affairs Briefing, was fully launched in May.

p>Seventy seven employers joined the Aim High campaign to raise young people’s achievement levels by the end of May, according to Michael Heron, Chairman of the Post Office and leader of the initiative. These include Unilever, BAT Industries and McDonalds. Michael Heron also announced the result of a survey of Aim High companies and 1,000 head teachers:

only one in five businesses are currently measuring the impact of their education involvement on the levels of achievement of young people

less than half are reviewing their targets in the light of the National Education and Training Targets

99% of head teachers want business to play a more active role, with involvement at primary school level particularly weak.

The core of the Aim High initiative is commitment by participating companies to implementing one or more of the “Ten Pathways” to achievement. (See Trends below). The aim is to secure commitment from 500 companies over the next twelve months. Contact Amanda Bowman, BITC, 071 629 1600

The Toyota Science and Technology Education Fund is set for a substantial increase, following the success of the first pilot year. The Fund, established by Toyota and run in association with BITC, provides grants of £500 – £1,000 for projects which improve the quality of science and technology teaching within the framework of the national curriculum. Each project must have a link with a local business. In the pilot year, 600 applications were received and 273 grants were awarded, with around three quarters receiving matching funds from TECs. Toyota has fully evaluated the results and during the 1993/94 academic year will provide £235,000, nearly doubling the scheme. Contact Stuart Dyble, Toyota, on 071 287 7171 or Ian Pearce, BITC, on 071 629 1600

Youngsters in London’s East End will get help with their employment prospects though a partnership scheme backed by City-based financial institution, Lehman Brothers International, announced on May 5. Called Getting Ahead, the initiative brings together Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership, the Prince’s Youth Business Trust and the Half Moon Young People’s Theatre to provide work-related skills, arts experience, financial backing and advice on enterprise and job creation. Lehman Brothers are providing £50,000 during 1993 together with staff involvement from all levels of the company. Contact Patricia Hamzahee, Lehman Brothers, on 071 260 2299

In May fourteen BTec students from Tower Hamlets College got a taste of the European financial services industry, thanks to leading insurance company Sedgwick. Part of the European Awareness Project, jointly funded by London Docklands Development Corporation, Barclays Bank and London City Airport, the students visited Sedgwick’s offices in London and Paris to gain awareness of the world of work and of career opportunities in Europe. Previous trips have involved McCann Erikson (advertising) and L’Oreal (hairdressing). Contact Victoria Secretan, Sedgwick, on 071 377 3456 or Steve Williams or Lesley Townsend, LDDC, on 071 512 3000

The second national mentoring conference was held on May 11 in Manchester, organised by Salford Compact with support from the Employment Department and Whitbread. Over 120 people attended and heard Bryn Smith, Whitbread’s Community Investment Director, describe the business benefits to be gained, including the personal development of staff who take part. Contact Jean Delahoy, Salford Compact, on 061 787 3135

A new comprehensive guide to the range of opportunities available to young people as they leave school has been sent to every school and college in the country, thanks to funding from companies and foundations, including Marks & Spencer, Grand Metropolitan and Northern Foods. Published at the end of March, Go for it! has been produced by the charity Drive for Youth, chaired by BBC news presented Martyn Lewis, in association with the Prince’s Trust and the Institute for Citizenship Studies. Contact Gina Sussens on 071 323 4770


See below in the Trends section for more information about the Aim High initiative; here just a thought about the recent Cabinet reshuffle. Education itself was not affected, but David Hunt went from Wales, where he followed in Peter Walker’s interventionist footsteps, to Employment. Earlier this year and little reported, Sir Geoffrey Holland, formerly of the Manpower Services Commission and then at Employment, became Permanent Secretary at Education. So now there are new ministers and civil servants in position in key departments, prepared to intervene and needing to establish a reputation for action. Under these circumstances and with public expenditure tightly constrained, the temptation will be to get business to take on more, by legislation if necessary. Anathema before, possible now. Watch out for new initiatives in the training/employment/education fields.

Corporate Citizenship Briefing, issue no: 10 – June, 1993