Skip to main content



The energy company, LE Group, runs an active employee volunteering scheme as part of their community programme. This groupwide initiative, called Helping Hands, includes a dynamic partnership with the Castle View Education Action Zone (EAZ), Sunderland.

The EAZ was established as part of the government's Excellence in Cities programme, and consists of 1 secondary school and 4 primary schools which serve a community with high levels of social deprivation. With London Electricity as the biggest business sponsor, the EAZ has leveraged over pound;35,000 from the DfES in matched funding for the current academic year.

The secondary school is supported by several schemes in the Helping Hands programme including business mentoring, providing 40 mentors for Year 10 pupils. This provides one-to-one support with an employee devoting one hour each week over a period of 10 months. It starts at the beginning of Year 10 and continues until GCSEs with the aim of increasing pupils'

self-confidence and motivation at an important stage of their academic career. The programme is mutually beneficial as LE Group employees wish to be active in the community and find that it helps to develop their own listening and communication skills.

Frank King, a volunteer mentor believes that: "I would consider myself the lucky one II find that already we have things in common. He is bright and will go far, given the right guidance. I am not his teacher or his parent - just a friend who wants to give him that gentle nudge and keep him on track for the future."

London Electricity also supports basic skills at primary and secondary level by running workshops for pupils promoting a variety of life skills, including the safe use of electricity.


Linklaters, the City solicitors, have been working with the Citizenship Foundation for the last 12 years, supporting the citizenship programme in secondary schools. Linklaters actively encourages its legal staff to volunteer their time and share legal skills and understanding with local schools. Any lawyer or trainee can get involved and over 25 lawyers regularly visit 5 Secondary Schools in Tower Hamlets to promote the concept of citizenship with year 10 pupils. The volunteers encourage students to explore and debate issues affecting them, raising their awareness of their rights and responsibilities within society. Discussion topics range from the youth justice system, stop and search police powers to race relations and civil rights.

The Citizenship Foundation provides the tools and case studies to help Linklaters' volunteers facilitate classes and the discussion takes place with insights and ideas of the pupils. The Citizenship Foundation is an independent educational charity that offers expertise, training and advice. It also provides materials for businesses who want to set up law education projects with students.

The pupils value the opportunity to discuss the sometimes sensitive issues in an informal and relaxed environment, it also provides positive role models and helps to challenge stereotypes of companies and lawyers.


To help bridge the gap between classroom and workplace, the WorkWise programme was developed two years ago for Industry in Education. It is designed to help students aged 14+ enhance self-knowledge and personal skills for the world of work.

The Royal Mail, John Lewis, Colmans of Norwich, and Anglian Water were among the first to take part in a pilot run by the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, organised by project co-ordinator, Janet Gilmour. The volunteers received two days training and then spent three days sharing their personal and professional skills along with their workplace experiences with groups of year 10 - 11 students.

The Norfolk Chamber of Commerce has now expanded the programme and delivers WorkWise successfully to over 400 students from 21 secondary schools across Norfolk with 80 trained facilitators from 57 companies. There is a significant support for the programme with waiting lists of schools and facilitators. Graham Hodson, Headteacher of Old Buckenham High School hopes that the programme can be expanded in future to include all pupils. Almost all students who had been on the course said that they had enjoyed it and would recommend it to their friends!

The programme promotes positive attitudes and raises the students awareness of key 'employability skills' needed in the workplace, from leadership and interpersonal skills to presentation techniques. Workwise helps to prepare young people for life after formal education and delivers the skills companies are seeking in new recruits.

Workwise is being revised jointly by Industry in Education and Business in the Community. For further information contact E-SKILLS 4 INDUSTRY

The e-skills4industry programme and associated work placements are designed to increase students' employment chances. Currently a 14 month pilot programme with sponsoring companies led by Deloitte and Touche, including HSBC, Morgan Stanley, News International, Vodafone and SHL Group , it involves 30 year 12 students from 3 schools in Tower Hamlets, London. Each student has undergone a 2 week work placement with a firm in the City or Docklands to get a taste of corporate IT life. A further 3 month placement with the same company will round off their training this year. As student, Kris Gibson commented: "Work experience with a company like Deloitte and Touche is worth a lot in the IT industry."

The programme, co-funded by the Learning amp; Skills Council London East, represents an important opportunity to help bridge the IT skills gap faced or predicted by many organisations and to address community employability issues. The pilot should be rolled out nationally in 2003.

Deloitte and Touche's, Linda Hall, Learning amp; Development Manager of e-skills4industry is responsible for the progress of all 30 students and for monitoring their individual achievements. She commented upon the value of direct experience:

"This is a marvellous opportunity for the students to learn how help desks and on-site support systems operate, not least to understand in a practical context what's expected of them in a company setting."

MARKS amp; SPENCER work expErience

This month has seen the launch of Marks amp; Spencer work experience programme with the support of their 300 plus stores undertaking one or two week placements for 14-16 year olds. The aim is to ensure that the programme offers a " work taster" and learning opportunity.

The programme will also be addressing current government proposals in the 14-19 Green Paper, to increase work-related learning and ensure that work experience is not a missed or inadequate opportunity.

The placements focus on improving key skills and where possible encourage each store to include a project that is mutually beneficial to both the store and the student.

Through customer research conducted by MORI and consultation with key stakeholders, teachers, other businesses and government employees, Marks amp; Spencer developed an Education and Learning policy in early 2001. Through this policy Marks amp; Spencer has many different education programmes ranging from those that are tailored to help and mentor the pupils to teacher support.


Work experience Trident Trust

Mentoring National Mentoring Network

Understanding science AND TECHNOLOGY IN THE WORKPLACE SATRO Network 0121 414 4318


Helping teach citizenship CSV Education for Citizenship 020 7278 6601

Helping teach enterprise Young Enterprise businessdynamics

Business in the Community

National EBP Network

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you