By Jo Phillips

How Can Local Business Leaders Benefit Education In Their Area?

As a local business owner, you probably already aim to help your local community in whatever way you can.

There are many ways that you can help those around you, but as children are the future, supporting education is one of the most rewarding and beneficial ways to help those in and around your local area.

In this article, we are going to look at some of the ways that local business leaders can benefit education in their area. Read on to find out more about this.

Introducing More Business Leaders

In any school setting, business leaders can be extremely beneficial. Schools in the UK typically have a board of governors (and Trustees if an academy), and this is made up of Community, parents and often business leaders. When business leaders become governors or Trustees, they can offer a fresh perspective and some valuable commercial experience. Their insights can help to guide the school in the right direction and their experience in dealing with finance, HR or IT  requirements, for example, can prove extremely valuable.

AI Kingsley is an expert in both education and edTech who advocates for more business leaders to get involved in supporting schools. He has spent the last 15 years supporting schools by appearing on a number of boards as the chair. He is Chair of Cambridgeshire SEND Board and an Apprenticeship Ambassador for the East of England. In his blog, www.schooltrustee.blog, you can read more about his experience as a governor and learn how businesses can support schools. With more business leaders in schools, students can get the right kind of experience that sets them up for the rest of their lives.

Offering Valuable Experience

As we mentioned above, local business leaders can become school governors. However, it is important to recognise just how valuable their experience can be within a school setting. Typically, business leaders have experienced both success and hardship in building their business or progressing in their career. This experience can allow them to offer a new perspective that school leaders might not have.

Board members act as a critical friend to leaders within a school and business leaders often work well in this position. The future of the students must always be the top priority and business leaders who decide to get involved have to ensure children and outcomes are at the heart of everything. Of course, they must be willing to cast aside any potential commercial gain in this kind of position.

Providing Resources

It should also be noted that local business leaders can benefit education in their area by donating funds or resources to their local school. While this might sound like something that is simply for improving their brand awareness, it can actually go a long way to support education in your area as well. Many schools are underfunded and struggle to pay for things such as IT resources or PE equipment. If business owners can support schools and provide cutting-edge equipment, they can not only support the students, but they can also allow schools to spend their budget on other aspects of the business. This can be a viable option for those who are unable to commit to joining a board of governors.

Offering Workshops

Have you ever considered offering your knowledge as a resource to benefit education in your area? You might find that you have a lot of expertise in a certain area that could be used to shape the futures of students. By hosting career seminars, providing interview practice or offering training to students, you could be influencing the local job market as well as bringing value to the school. Workshops can be extremely valuable for everyone involved so if you haven’t considered this or been a guest speaker before, it is certainly something to consider. 

Work Placements

Finally, business leaders in local areas can help to benefit education by offering work placements to students. Schools are often looking for businesses that can offer work experience for the students who are moving up through the years. Work placements can benefit everyone involved and they can provide students with the experience and knowledge that they need to choose the right path for them. Work placements are typically 1 or 2 weeks at most. You could even alternate between students and ensure they are getting the experience that they need. If this isn’t something that you have considered as a local business leader, you should try to give it a go this year.

Try These Ideas

There is no reason why local business leaders cannot be more proactive in supporting education in their area. Joining a board of trustees or governors can be a great move for any business leaders who want to support their local schools. If you cannot commit to becoming a governor, offering to provide workshops or even work placements can also go a long way.

Try to focus on value to school. It shouldn’t be about tangible benefit to the business. Work experience is only at certain times of the year, normally spring term).

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