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Running right on time;Subject of the Week;Business links

Bedfordshire Education Business Partnership sees itself as the one-stop shop for education-industry links in the county and in Luton, a unitary authority.

Last year it helped find two-week work-experience placements for 6,800 pupils in thousands of local firms. It stages an annual awards evening to celebrate the achievements of the 10 students who come up with the best work experience projects.

The partnership runs a compact programme to help motivate pupils from age four to 16. Students are encouraged to be punctual, to attend school regularly and to set their own goals. Incentives range from pens and pencils to certificates and cash. At 15 and 16, pupils take part in the Never Absent, Never Late programme. If they manage five terms without being late or absent, car manufacturer Vauxhall gives them a certificate and pound;50.

The partnership is heavily involved in out-of-school learning activities. These include literacy summer schools and a summer college programme.

The partnership also aims to find placements for around 10 per cent of the county's teachers each year. Last year it arranged 370 placements.

It runs a successful mentoring programme for 14 to 16-year-olds, and recently won a contract to provide mentoring services for 18 to 24-year-olds on the Government's New Deal programme.

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