Business leaders meet to help employees of the future to succeed

(l-r) Mark Smith, CEO of Southern Co-operative, Melanie Coles, Lockheed Martin UK, Communications Manager, Arbinder Chatwal, BDO LLP, Director Southampton Assurance, Nikki Wakefield, Education Manager, Solent, Business in the Community and Lee Wiltshire, Carillion PLC, Facilities General Manager with (front l-r) Laura Barnes (16), Harry Gould (12), Paula Claisse, KPMG, Tax Director and Portchester Community School headteacher Richard Carlyle.''Picture: Sarah Standing (150181-5240)

(l-r) Mark Smith, CEO of Southern Co-operative, Melanie Coles, Lockheed Martin UK, Communications Manager, Arbinder Chatwal, BDO LLP, Director Southampton Assurance, Nikki Wakefield, Education Manager, Solent, Business in the Community and Lee Wiltshire, Carillion PLC, Facilities General Manager with (front l-r) Laura Barnes (16), Harry Gould (12), Paula Claisse, KPMG, Tax Director and Portchester Community School headteacher Richard Carlyle.''Picture: Sarah Standing (150181-5240)

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BUSINESSES are being encouraged to get involved in a project working with schools to inspire students to success.

Business leaders from across the area gathered at Portchester Community School to discover how developing partnerships with schools and colleges can bring mutual benefits to business and society.

It formed part of The Prince’s Seeing is Believing visits – a scheme found by the Prince of Wales – organised by charity Business in the Community.

It was led by Mark Smith, chief executive of The Southern Co-operative.

He said: ‘It’s about trying to engage with local businesses to encourage them to join the project.

‘We have been showcasing the relationship between businesses and the school here.

‘This is a two-way process. There are massive benefits to the young people and there are equal benefits to the businesses.

‘The people in the business are themselves getting development.

‘It’s taking people out of their comfort zone and developing their skills base, just as much as it is supporting the young people.

‘It also generates a motivated future workforce coming out of education.

‘It’s an opportunity to build on the work that is being done in schools to help people get in the right frame of mind so they have high aspirations and want to achieve to get into the workplace.’

Representatives from firms including Biscoes solicitors, Fasset, Carillion and Hampshire Cricket Club were there.

The project involves organising work experience placements and inviting representatives from local businesses into schools to talk to students about their career paths and how they got where they are today.

Richard Carlyle, headteacher at Portchester Community School, said: ‘It’s how they can help schools through modelling effective career paths and working with school leaders.

‘Part of that fits well with raising the aspirations for the right people to become industry leaders.’

The Southern Co-operative has started a three-year partnership with the school.

Mr Smith added: ‘Yesterday provided employers with an insight into the education sector and how they can take small actions to help enhance the employability of young people. The Business Class programme will enable schools and industries to work closer together and help address future skill gaps.’

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