Investing in potential

Tes Editorial


British Airways has supported education for over 10 years and through its Community Learning Centre initiative has been shortlisted as an award finalist. The Centre, located at the Company's headquarters at Heathrow, is managed by a team of eight and supported by secondees as well as a network of business volunteers.

Within the last 3 years over 18.000 young people and adult learners have participated in programmes. Through discussions with local schools and community groups the company has developed an extensive range of curriculum and self-development programmes. These include ICT, languages, business understanding, customer service, citizenship and environmental education. Activities to develop teamwork, communication and presentation skills are also available.

The Centre operates in 17 different languages including sign language. The innovative British Airways Language Flag Award for Schools, based on the internal testing programme for BA customer service staff gives schools the opportunity to reward achievement in languages.

The teachers are trained and given the testing materials which can be delivered in the classroom where pupils are tested on a range of work-related language activities. Students who pass are awarded a British Airways Flag which takes the form of a pin badge and certificate.

As an international airline the Centre also offers a range of global education programmes focusing on communities that they fly to and serve.

www.britishairways.comlearning SCOTTISH POWER

I didn't really pay much attention at school. I enjoyed business and computers but it was not that interesting just learning about it, so my grades were not that good."

Strange words to come out of the mouth of this confident HR assistant who was made Learner of the Year (Scotland) by ScottishPower.

After school Aneeka Sohrab, from Glasgow, started studying a childcare course at college but left. She saw an advertisement for the Skillseekers course and opted to join the scheme run by ScottishPower Learning, a venture set up by the company and trade unions to create opportunities for the unemployed. After gaining her SVQ in Business Admin she was offered a job at Dataserve, part of the ScottishPower group.

The Skillseeker programme is broadly based on the government's post-16 vocational training strategy. Since October 1996, 723 youngsters have completed the programme, 497 have found employment or decided to move into Further Education. This represents a success rate of almost 70%, a figure unparalleled in similar government-funded programmes.

ScottishPower Learning aims to share the company's skills and resources with the communities that ScottishPower serves.

Another programme developed by ScottishPower is PowerPartners whereby 6 computers, adapted for use by blind and partially-sighted people have been installed in ScottishPower's Open Learning Centre in Glasgow. This programme aims to make a real difference in supporting the ability of people with sight problems to access IT resources. It developed from the findings of research conducted by RNIB Scotland who found that more than 80% of partially-sighted and blind people of working age are unemployed. DEUTSCHE BANK

Deutsche Bank has teamed up with the national business education and enterprise charity, businessdynamics, to help school-age students develop work skills and create a spirit of enterprise in schools. The bank's employees have been instrumental in the development of two complementary schemes - the e-business programme and the e-business challenge.

Both programmes are unique in the UK in raising awareness in schools of the impact of internet technology on business. They also fit well with the government's enterprise agenda and recommendations in the Howard Davies Review of Enterprise and the Economy in Education.

The e-business programme is a 2-day, curriculum-based course, which is delivered in schools. Business role models, including Deutsche Bank staff, deliver interactive seminars on finance, HR, marketing and management. 98% of schools that run an e-business programme immediately request another course for the following year.

The e-business challenge is a national, online competition, which offers students the opportunity to develop their business ideas, with valuable feedback from Deutsche Bank experts and the opportunity to win a business-and-pleasure trip to San Francisco. The challenge is an interactive education tool for teachers and students, who gain hands-on experience of teamwork, business planning and presenting ideas.

The e-business challenge was piloted last year and one of the finalist teams came from Emmanuel College in Gateshead. John Hunt, the school's Head of Business Studies says, "It's very important that businesses have links to schools. The e-business challenge competition demands student creativity for a business idea, teamwork, the practical application of ICT and the ability to present in public. These are all skills the business community wants." LEEDS UNITED FC

When James Proctor arrived at Leeds United's Learning Centre at Elland Road, he was a bright but shy 13 year old, unsure of what lay ahead. Three years later he is assisting primary age pupils, confidently supporting teachers, and has become the youngest accredited mentor in England. The moderators described his portfolio as "absolutely exemplary". His mother, Susan, said: "Before he went to Leeds United, James had ability but didn't believe in himself. It's made the world of difference to him."

The programme, Playing for Success, is a DfES initiative in partnership with Education Leeds and Leeds United's Community Department, the non-profit-making section of the business at the heart of the Premiership club.

They use the power of football to deliver benefits to the community in education, race relations, charity and other community projects. Particular attention is paid to the difference that can be made to the lives of young people. In 10 weeks, a group of Playing for Success key-stage 2 pupils improved their maths by 60%, reading by 37% and computer skills by 119%.

But teachers, parents and pupils agree that the biggest benefit, as with James, is the self-esteem and increased confidence.

Business in the Community is a unique movement of companies committed to continually improving their impact on society, with a core membership of 700 companies including 77 of the FTSE 100. For more information on Business in the Community's education initiatives, please contact Linsey Green on 020 7566 8736, email: or visit the website at Registered office: 137 Shepherdess Walk, London N1 7RQ. Charity No. 297716 Company limited by guarantee No: 1619253.

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