Connect business and education to help every student succeed

Connect business and education to help every student succeed

Building a fairer future where every young person benefits from engagement with business

When a young person has four or more encounters with an employer, they are five times less likely to be unemployed in their adult life. But these life-changing opportunities are not available to all. The scales of social justice need balancing to ensure that every young person has equal chances to connect with business and succeed in later life.

The change we’re calling for

That’s why we’re asking every employer to step up, to recognise their role in preparing young people for the modern world, and connect with the education system. This means engaging with school and colleges, and helping young people to understand the opportunities that are available to them.

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    Assess the ways in which your business could tangibly support schools and colleges – from offering work experience to mentoring school leaders

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    Connect with your local Careers and Enterprise Company coordinator to be matched with schools that will most benefit from your initiatives

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    Pledge your business' commitment to supporting the schools, colleges and young people who would benefit most

Why it's needed

Connecting with business makes a real and significant difference to young people’s life chances, and it’s something every business – whatever your size, sector or region – can do.

Young people feel they aren’t being well-prepared for the world of work. While a school in the shadow of Canary Wharf has access to a dozen law and accountancy firms, a school in Great Yarmouth is likely to have significantly fewer choices when it comes engaging with employers. Opportunities are not distributed evenly. Business must ensure that every young person has equal access to the engagements that will help them succeed.

Engagement also provides the chance to close skills gaps: to truly solve these challenges, work must start in schools.

Business has an unmissable opportunity to boost young people’s life chances; prepare them for the workplace; tackle skills gaps; and cement business’ value in society. On all counts, it’s time to step up.

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"A powerful partnership of business, schools and colleges is succeeding in making a difference to the lives of young people. The CBI campaign and employer toolkit signals a commitment from business to step up and ensure every young person has access to encounters with employers that will help them successfully prepare for the modern world."

Matthew Fell, Chief UK Policy Director, CBI

The importance of engaging with education

A fairer future begins in schools and colleges

It’s critical that every young person has equal chances to succeed in later life – and business can play a huge role in securing those opportunities.

  • Two out of three young people are leaving school and college having had experiences of the workplace

  • 1 in 4 people do not feel adequately prepared by their education for the world of work

  • of businesses are willing to play a greater role in supporting schools and colleges

Engaging with education is great for business too

Reaching out to schools and colleges benefits both firms and people: students and education leaders are better equipped, and businesses can be a true force for good and cement their community value. Find out how your firm can practically engage with the educational establishments that need you most.

Our progress and impact

The CBI campaigns tirelessly on behalf of our members so that business creates prosperity for all. Learn more about the work we do and the impact we are making on this issue.

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Pledge your time to volunteer with young people

Make 2020 the year you inspire the next generation of talent.

Just one hour of your time could change a young person’s life. Share your career journey, provide expert tips for CVs and interviews, or join a speed networking event – however you help, your presence is invaluable and will improve a young person’s future employability chances.

Working with schools develops business too – help build a strong talent pool and a source of new ideas. That’s why we’re urging every employer to step up for schools and ensure these opportunities are available to everyone.


Pledge your time to transform the lives of young people today!

Support the change

  1. Are you a business leader?

    Join the CBI

    Our members are our mandate, and the reason we’re the most influential business organisation in the UK.

    Join the voice of business, and help us campaign to build a future where every young person can benefit from the opportunities business has to offer.

    Become a member
  2. Are you a CBI member?

    Have your say

    Are you worried about your future talent pipeline? We know that firms want to invest in young people, but they struggle with knowing how to make these interactions meaningful.

    We’re collecting views from members to shape our policy position. Share your story and help drive change.

    Get Involved
  3. Are you a policymaker?

    Make a difference

    This campaign is led by the CBI’s People & Skills team.

    Contact Matthew Percival, Director of People and Skills, to find out about the change UK business can drive in our schools and colleges, and how you can support it.

    Contact Us