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Chamber aims for stronger links between schools and industry

Researching the links that exist between secondary schools in the north-east of Scotland and business, Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce estimates that more than 12,000 young people take part in some sort of business activity.

Forty-three per cent of secondary pupils in Aberdeen and 59 per cent of pupils in Aberdeenshire secondary schools were estimated to be taking part in some sort of industry-linked activity.

The activities these businesses undertook with schools were wide-ranging, but a significant amount of activity was aimed at promoting the oil and gas industry and related disciplines such as engineering and science.

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Schools had also established a number of relationships with third party providers of activities.

Activities which were popular among schools included the Youth Philanthropy Initiative, Maths in the Pipeline and SCIP programme.

These activities were rated highly by schools, with teachers praising the opportunities these programmes offer young people to develop teamwork skills and put their learning in class into a practical context.

The chamber - along with its regional partners Opito and Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Future (ACSEF) - recognised that links already existed between schools and business.

However, there was a view that we needed to get a good understanding of the scale of activity, the nature of interactions or the quality of these interactions before we could make recommendations about how links could be developed further.

The research found that each school managed and evaluated business activities in different ways.

As a result, the number of activities young people had access to varied between schools.

Based on the findings the research partners made a number of recommendations to the two local authorities and to businesses.

The creation of a business database to log every business interested in working with schools has been recommended.

This would allow schools to identify possible partners for new activities quickly and easily and help businesses highlight what activities they are interested in supporting.

Local authorities were also encouraged to devise guidance on how schools can go about developing links with businesses and also evaluate the effectiveness of activities.

Finally, the research partners recommended that some form of professional development programme be developed for teachers, so that they can find out more about the North-east economy and have opportunities to engage with businesses in specific sectors.

The Wood Review has come up with the same conclusions, so from our place it looks like these issues relate to the whole of Scotland.

We are hopeful that this research and the recommendations will prompt better links between young people and their future employers.

Good quality engagement between schools and businesses is a crucial part of ensuring a pipeline to talent continues to be available in the region.

Robert Collier is chief executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

Contextual targeting label: 
Education

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