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Business in Schools Network

In order to ensure we have the skills base needed by local business to grow our economy, we believe that connecting our schools to the jobs being created in the labour market is key. The more we can grow our own skill base, the more wealth we retain in our own region.

We are keen to improve and promote business engagement in schools, particularly around the employability agenda.

To meet this aim the West of England LEP has set up a Business in Schools Network, which is open to all providers currently engaged in supporting schools to work with business across the West of England.

Members of the network include the organisations listed below:

Bristol Initiative Charitable Trust - Education
Bristol Young Talent
Business in the Community
Burges Salmon
EBP South West
Graphic Science
Kingsmead Square
Kingswood Partnership
My Future My Choice
Norbert Dentressangle
North Somerset
Princes Trust
South Gloucester
Special Schools
UWE Bristol
Young Enterprise




Ablaze was founded by Bristol businesses to build partnerships with education. It provides structured volunteering opportunities for businesses to help raise the aspiration, attainment and achievement of young people across the Bristol area.

Ablaze promotes social mobility and progression routes for young people through our core programmes of 1:1 support and wider partnerships between businesses and schools.

It is an independent charity driven by business volunteers, funding and commissions.

Tel: 07973 445 272

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The charity is engaging with Bristol schools and families through a major project called Bristol Loves Tides. The work is co-ordinated by our Education Director and by My Future My Choice - A project that started with children building cardboard boats is leading to exciting learning adventures out on deep water that engage young people with the future for the tidal regions of Bristol's rivers and estuaries. read more 
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A touring show will be available in 2015 as part of Bristol's year as European Green Capital

The boat building is of course continuing and every year over 700 Young Shipwrights build 100 boats to sail in the Bristol Harbour Festival read more

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The Bristol Young Student of the Year Awards has evolved and will shortly be replaced by a new employability skills award for post – 16 students attending state schools, colleges and academies in the Bristol region.

The aim of the new award is to help students develop key skills outside the school curriculum, boosting their self-assurance and communication skills to help them stand out in a competitive jobs market.  The award represents a tangible and meaningful endorsement of their efforts, a badge of achievement that will make potential employers and further education establishments sit up and take notice.

The award is currently being trialled in four schools before being rolled out later this year and is being funded by UWE Bristol.

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Business Class is a unique programme of targeted and sustainable support from a national network of Businesses for Schools facing challenging circumstances. Business Class aims to overcome short term and piecemeal business engagement. Through a carefully structured partnership lasting a minimum of 3 years, each business and partner school works together to provide proven impact within the school. The core philosophy of Business Class is that the school is the ‘client’: it is the school that determines what is needed from its business partner. What makes Business Class unique is the Cluster mechanism: School and business partners in a particular locality are grouped together enabling them to meet on a termly basis to share best practice and pool resources across partner schools. Clusters are also able to share learning and ideas with other clusters nationwide.

Business in the Community stands for responsible business. We are a business-led charity focused on promoting responsible business practice. We have a growing membership of over 850 companies and a further 10,700 companies engaged in our campaigns globally. Our members help to transform communities by tackling key social and environmental issues and in doing so, transform themselves. Our vision is for every business to act responsibly and so ensure a sustainable future for all.

Tel: 0117 9309380

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Envision's Community-Apprenitce programme brings together businesses, community groups and volunteers from the local community to give young people a structured development programme through which they can help themselves whilst helping others. It was launched by the Mayor, George Ferguson, in May 2013 and over the next 3 years we will engage 1000 Community-Apprenitces across the city.

Community-Apprentice is an inter-school city-wide competition, loosely based upon the TV series The Apprentice, but with four differences.

• Firstly teams compete to make the biggest contribution to their community, rather than profit.
• Secondly,given this emphasis, Lord Sugar's role is played by Mayor George Furguson who is responsible for the quality of life in Bristol.
• Thirdly, in the TV programme, contestants must develop and demonstrate their character. Instead, Community-Apprentice is looking for different character traits, namely: empathy, collaboration, confidence and communication. leadership, responsibility and commitment and perseverance and resilience.
• Finally, unlike the TV programme where Karen and Nick are there to spot failings, every team has their own 'Karen and Nick', volunteers drawn from local companies, who support participants, helping them to reflect on their experiences and to evidence these traits in the boardroom.

Community-Apprentice clubs are set up as an extra-curricular or enrichment activity (focussed currently on year 12) Weekly sessions are facilitated by Envision Coordinators, who are supported by a growing army of adult volunteers drawn from local companies recruited, trained and supported by Envision to help pupils reflect on their experiences. Young people are given real responsibility. They decide the issue they want to tackle and how they want to do it. We provide structure through three challenges which provide milestones to sustain progress and maintain the 'episode' feel of the programme.

• The Film Challenge requires pupils to work as a team to identify and communicate an issue they care about.
• The Pitch Challenge requires them to prepare a project plan and pitch to a panel of judges drawn from the local community for support.
• Boardroom Challenge requires teams to present the difference they have made within their community, and their coaches to evidence the character traits they have developed.

Each individual young person has a personal skills passport in which they collect feedback throughout the programme from their peers and coaches, as well as noting reflections on their own behaviour in relation to the qualities set out above. From the get-go participants are incentivised to participate in these sessions as the evidence is used in the final Boardroom Challenge. Those who sustain their commitment are rewarded with a one-to-one session with a corporate coach to produce a 'character reference' providing genuine examples of these traits from the programme. Finally, they have an opportunity to practise articulating this verbally in a large-scale speed interviewing event. In doing so, they learn to understand what qualities are valued by employers, and how they can draw on experiences outside the classroom to illustrate these attributes.

For more information please visit the website or contact Alice Young, Regional Manager on 0117 3155113, or email:

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Graphic Science is a communications and education consultancy specialising in taking science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to a variety of audiences. We have been working with the Business in Schools Network to integrate the STEM Ambassador Programme and School’s STEM Advisory Service across the West of England LEP region. We have built ongoing relationships with secondary schools in the region and have long standing relationships with local STEM business and academia.

?        Over 90% of all secondary schools in the West of England LEP region have had at least one interaction with STEM Ambassadors in the past 12 months.

?        Over 70% of all secondary schools in the West of England LEP region have interacted with STEM Ambassadors on three or more occasions in the past 12 months.

?        Over 1200 approved STEM Ambassador volunteers in the West of England LEP region, representing a range of STEM experience and expertise.

Our method of embedding STEM planning in schools is generating interest in developing a more strategic approach to engaging with STEM business and academia. We have also developed and delivered STEM Ambassador Extension Training both in the West of England LEP area and across the UK, enabling hundreds of volunteers to spend time advancing their understanding of what makes an effective interaction with young people.

To discuss how we might work with your school or your business to help develop STEM, contact

Tel: 01275 474948

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The Kingswood Partnership is a national flagship for 14-19 year old education offering a broad range of high quality courses in its specialist secondary schools and at the Beacon Award-winning City of Bristol College. With well-established business links and an excellent programme of extra-curricular activities, the Partnership provides unrivalled opportunities for young people in the area. We offer a broad range of high quality courses to suit students with different plans and different learning styles, as well as fantastic opportunities for internships and practical work placements.

The Kingswood Partnership works with a wide range of external organisations to provide its students with a meaningful context for learning. The organisations we work with include small, medium and large enterprises in the private sector, the public sector, training providers, not for profit organisations, colleges and universities.

Tel: 01454 868188

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MEI is a national mathematics education charity committed to improving mathematics education. We support teachers and learners of maths through a range of programmes, professional development opportunities, and innovative resources that include real world examples of applications of maths. MEI has been supporting schools and colleges for 50 years, helping to make mathematics education more relevant to the way maths is used in the workplace. More recently we have begun to use this expertise to work with employers to develop the mathematical skills of their employees.

Tel:07445 345094

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My Future My Choice provides business with volunteering opportunities to work with children and adolescents in order to develop young people with attitude who are fit for the future. They provide schools, youth organisations and parents with resources and activities that enable them to engage young people with businesses, cultural venues and the local environment.

Workshops with volunteers and engineering ambassadors are available for KS2, 3 and 4 which cover STEM subjects  in a totally practical way. They also run workshops with the help of  business volunteers to raise aspirations and help children plan routes to success and happiness  - these workshops target children and adolescents at moments of transition at KS2 or KS3. Build My Future is a major UK programme supported by GE, Deutsche Bank and Rowan Dartington.

They have won awards for best Engineering Education from the British Science Association and they deliver funded projects for English Heritage, Heritage Lottery, Bristol Airport, Quartet, RSA, Rolls-Royce, Burgess Salmon, The Bristol Port Company, Bevan Brittan, The Harbour Festival, Arup, Airbus, UWE, Bath Spa Uni, Smurfitt Kappa, Sparrow Cranes, Speedy Services, Bailey, IMechE, Bristol Museums and The 2015 Green Capital Programme.

My Future My Choice classroom resources and education films for 7 to 16 year olds are supplied by ASDAN  a National Accreditation Awarding Body.

Tel: 0117 3290387

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Youth charity - The Prince’s Trust helps change young lives. It gives practical and financial support, developing key workplace skills such as confidence and motivation. It works with 13 to 30 year olds who have struggled at school, have been in care, are long-term unemployed or have been in trouble with the law.

Working together with schools, The Prince’s Trust xl programme provides a personal development programme which is aimed at young people aged 13 to 19 who are at risk of underachievement to help build character and develop resilience, and learn employability skills.  Using an informal approach to learning, the clubs provide young people with the space and attention they need to develop confidence as well as to form a sense of ownership over their work and own development. The programme has consistently been successful across the UK in helping young people re-engage with learning and to develop a sense of achievement from which then can regain momentum in education.

A Prince’s Trust xl club will give young people a broad and balanced programme of support. Activities include: Personal, Team and Interpersonal skills, Active Citizenship, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise and Preparation for Work and Enrichment projects.

The Prince’s Trust Qualifications has developed a suite of qualifications specifically aligned to the programme. The Prince’s Trust Award, Certificate and Diploma in Personal Development and Employability Skills (PDE) recognises a breadth of personal skills, qualities and attitudes required by employers across a range of sectors. 

Tel: 0117 9434 953
Mob: 07717 487991

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Renishaw is a global company with core skills in measurement, motion control, spectroscopy and precision machining. We develop innovative products that significantly advance our customers' operational performance - from improving manufacturing efficiencies and raising product quality, to maximising research capabilities and improving the efficacy of medical procedures.

Our products are used for applications as diverse as machine tool automation, co-ordinate measurement, additive manufacturing, gauging, Raman spectroscopy, machine calibration, position feedback, CAD/CAM dentistry, shape memory alloys, large scale surveying, stereotactic neurosurgery, and medical diagnostics. In all of these areas we aim to be a long-term partner, offering superior products that meet our customers' needs both today and into the future, backed up by responsive, expert technical and commercial support.

We offer engineering and software apprenticeships, summer and industrial placements and graduate programmes.  In 2015 we will be employing over a 100 apprentices and graduates. For more information about these opportunities follow this link:


Contact: Julie Collins, Education Liaison Manager.

T: 01453 524195

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UWE Bristol is one of Britain's most popular universities. It has around 30,000 students and 3,500 staff, which makes it the largest provider of Higher Education in the South West of England. Students come from all parts of the UK, as well as a significant and growing number of international students from over 140 countries worldwide.

One of UWE Bristol’s key priorities is to connect and work with the local and regional economy – through Schools and Colleges, businesses, communities and international partners - to advance knowledge, and to advance the health, sustainability, prosperity and the reputation of the locality and region.

The University works with over 1,000 employers and professional bodies in the development of its courses. On some courses, such as construction, computing and engineering, partner employers are involved from the start, acting as mentors, advising on career choice and offering work experience opportunities.

UWE Bristol proactively engages with LEP Business in Schools Network and is fully committed to ensuring young people are properly equipped to access jobs and or higher education. We believe that everyone with the potential to benefit from HE should have the opportunity to do so. We provide a wide ranging programme of activities for learners from primary age to adult in our schools and colleges and deliver a number of recruitment fairs including one of the largest in the events  in the country, attracting over 120 recruiters including Airbus, Balfour Beatty, Boeing, IBM, RAF, The Big Issue, and Lidl.

Tel: Bev Green 0117 3282788

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Young Enterprise inspire young people aged 4 to 25 years old with the confidence, ability and ambition to succeed. At each stage, students work directly with YE volunteers from the local business community. We offer a range of programmes that can be tailored to schools needs. The Company Programme is our flagship programme and is the ultimate enterprise experience. Mentored by Business volunteers, students set up and run their own real company over a year.

All Young Enterprise programmes are based upon the principle of 'Learning by Doing'. Students begin their learning journey from the outset, with the support of Business Advisers, who work in partnership with Link Teachers to mentor, inspire and guide them through the experience.

Caroline Tarbuck, Young Enterprise Manager for West of England on

07436 153520


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Education Business Partnership - South West (EBP-SW) was established in the 1990s to set up, maintain and develop links between employers and schools and colleges. The purpose is to ensure we support young people to get the right skills and knowledge to enable them to be economically competent when they leave full time education. We help schools create learning opportunities that are relevant to the world of work. We offer sustained quality outcomes for students, teachers and employers

  • Helping young people to learn the skills necessary for a productive life
  • Assisting the exchange of expertise between schools and the workplace
  • Brokering the contribution business can make to all phases of education
  • Fostering the development of an enterprise culture in schools & colleges
  • Supporting the economic development across the region

Education Business Partnership - South West provides a work placement suitability checking service for over 300 schools across the South West, working with approximately 25,000 students annually. We also provide a matching service to tailor make placements to suit individual’s needs and requirements.

Work Experience is an education activity, and the educational benefits should be maximised at all times. These experiences allow students to gain an insight into the world of work, its disciplines and relationships, usually by spending a short, continuous spell in a real work situation, either as a block placement of 1 or 2 weeks or an extended placement which may be one or more days per week over a longer period.

Through our extensive work we are able to organise a range of activities to contextualise the curriculum and broker employer engagement.

We have a portfolio of activities at different levels of cost which schools can access

Activities we can help you with include:

  • Enterprise and industry days
  • work experience placements, preparation, briefings and de-briefings
  • professional development placements for teachers
  • industry visits
  • work related learning
  • applied learning support.

EBP-SW is the contract holder for the STEMNET Peninsula contract and is able to provide free support in accessing STEM Ambassadors for school activities. Outside of the Peninsula we can provide support in accessing this service through our partner STEMNET contract holders. We also organise and manage the Big Bang SW, engagement with us means real-time updates on this free regional celebration of STEM.

The EBP is a business unit within CSW Group ( and operate as a social enterprise, any surplus generated is ploughed back into our communities to support growth and sustainability.

Web -

Email -

Twitter - @ebpsw

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