Trent Academies wins support from Nottingham businesses to help students learn key skills

Pictured from left is Steve Lewis, Headteacher of Rushcliffe School, Chris McDonald, Golder Associates, Rebecca Hart, Dance Equation, Caroline Tomlinson, Head of Careers at Rushcliffe
Pictured from left is Steve Lewis, Headteacher of Rushcliffe School, Chris McDonald, Golder Associates, Rebecca Hart, Dance Equation, Caroline Tomlinson, Head of Careers at Rushcliffe
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Fifteen businesses have pledged to work with The Trent Academies Group (TAG) on helping students develop the key skills being sought by today’s employers.

The offers of support were made yesterday (26 January) at a “Business Breakfast” hosted by Rushcliffe School, the lead school in the group. Businesses big and small attended the event, including architects, lawyers, builders and swimwear giants Speedo.

The multi-academy trust, which also includes The Farnborough Academy and Arnold Hill Academy, has been blazing a trail with its work to boost student employability. Over the last year its schools have already linked with a dozen employers to design curriculum projects based on real life business challenges. Nottingham Forest FC, East Midlands Airport, the city’s Crowne Plaza hotel, Experian and tapas bar The Tapestry have all been involved.

At the innovative breakfast event the academies were seeking new partnerships to help them reach their goal of ensuring every one of their students is highly employable when they leave school.

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Caroline Tomlinson, Head of Careers at Rushcliffe, said “We are always trying hard to get good exam passes but our students need other skills. We want each pupil to leave us with the best possible chances.”

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Evidence shows that contact with the business world helps young people to do better when they reach the workplace. If pupils have 5 of these experiences they are 4 times less likely to become NEET (Not in education, employment or training).

David Drury, a careers expert who has been supporting TAG in its employability mission, said: “It’s about thinking beyond the grade to soft skills such as communication, team-working, risk taking, problem solving and perseverance.”

Offers of help ranged from inputting into new curriculum projects and enterprise activities, to doing school visits, talks, mentoring, and sponsorship of employability experiences.

Chris McDonald, from environmental and civil engineering consultants Golder Associates, was enthusiastic about the possibilities.

“It could be a really good CPD opportunity for our staff as spreading the word about careers and what we do is all part of that. We are a global company with 8000 people in 40 countries. We work with sectors from mining and metals, infrastructure, road and railways, to sugar. That means we need geologists, biologists, chemists, people with IT skills and more.”

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Rebecca Hart, who runs her own dance education company and is a former Rushcliffe student, said: “As a teenager I felt Rushcliffe helped me to shine and encouraged me in the performing arts. Being here today has made me realise how much difference the foundation of secondary school makes. It’s great to be able to give something back.”

The Trent Academies Group hopes to get every faculty in each of its schools linking with business. If your company would be interested in working with them, please email Caroline Tomlinson at ctomlinson@rushcliffe.notts.sch.uk

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