Small businesses should donate a day of their staff's time to help pupils with employability skills, education charity Teach First has urged.
A report from the charity highlights that interaction with businesses at school has a direct impact on how much pupils earn in later life, with evidence suggesting each employer contact is worth an extra 4.5 per cent in future pay.
Teach First is also calling on school governors and multi-academy trusts to ensure that each secondary has a high quality, trained careers leader, responsible for overseeing a school-wide careers and employability strategy.
The new Progression Report - written with the support of PA Consulting Group - found that most schools in rural areas are struggling to develop employment partnerships.
Teach First recommends that Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) help to coordinate, promote and build relationships between small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and schools.
Sam Freedman, executive director of programmes at Teach First, said: “SMEs are perfectly placed to help inspire the next generation to succeed – whether that means going to university, undertaking an apprenticeship or moving directly into the workplace.
"Pupils with access to this type of career support at school are more likely to prosper in their future career - so it’s time to make sure all pupils get the opportunity – not just the few."
Paul Woodgates, head of services to the education sector at PA Consulting Group, said: “Businesses must be at the heart of developing the future workforce. By working with schools from around the country to provide job application and interview training to pupils from low socio-economic backgrounds, we’ve been able to boost pupils’ employability."