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Why go commercial

* Schools can benefit from contacts with business and industry in many ways, from work experience and teacher placements to mentoring and industry-run courses and seminars. Since the 1960s, organisations have been set up to encourage education business links.

* When making contacts beyond school, it is important to go through recognised channels to ensure that health and safety and other legal requirements are covered.

* Your local Learning and Skills Council will have information on a consortium of organisations that can broker contacts between schools and industry in your area. Your LEA advisory team may also be able to help, but arrangements are different in each LLSC. Sometimes the LEA plays the leading role, or it may be the Connexions partnership, a charity or a local partnership, company or organisation.

* The DfES has allocated pound;25 million to support education business links in 2003-04. Its website has a section devoted to EBL, including a directory of organisations working with LLSCs. The directory is compiled on behalf of the DfES by Business in the Community. Information at

* The Department of Trade and Industry publishes a guide to the ways in which schools can promote enterprise education through the National Curriculum. Information at How to develop working contacts

* Business in the Community was set up in 1982 as a charity through which companies can get involved with their community. Its 700 members support education in basic skills, employability and leadership through activities such as mentoring and the Workwise programme, which helps students aged 14+ to prepare for job interviews and the world of work. Information at

* The Trident Trust was founded in 1971 as a charity to help young people prepare for adult life. It now works with 1,200 schools, colleges and youth organisations providing activities and resources. The Skills for Life programme helps organise work experience, a personal challenge and community involvement for young people. Information at

* Young Enterprise was established in 1963 as a not-for-profit organisation to set up links between education and industry. Business volunteers work with schools to help young people set up and run their own companies and "learn by doing". Young Enterprise works with 3,000 secondary and 1,000 primary schools. Information at

* The National Education Business Partnerships Network is an umbrella organisation promoting best practice for 138 education business partnerships across the country. A charity since 1998, it supports work experience, mentoring, workplace visits and enterprise activity. It has oversight of the scheme for teachers' professional development through placements in industry on behalf of the DfES. Information at

* National Association of Careers Guidance Teachers. Professional body linking to all key careers agencies. Information at

* Careers Wales works with schools and colleges on careers advice, work experience, enterprise education and mentoring. Launched in 2001 by the Welsh National Assembly, it operates as seven local companies. Information at

* Connexions. Advice and guidance service for 13 to 19-year-olds.

Information at

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