A three-year strategic partnership between a business and a school, Business Class enables business to make meaningful, sustainable relationships with schools, and to engage with their future workforce.

Business Class is a three-year strategic partnership between a business and a school, Business Class enables business to make meaningful, sustainable relationships with schools, and to engage with their future workforce.

It helps young people develop their skills, and the aspirations they need to succeed in the world of work; and is key to addressing the skills gap in employer expectations and pupils’ aspirations

Schools and businesses across Northern Ireland are taking advantage of Business Class, with each partnership making up a localised group, which involves a diverse range of businesses. This group meets each school term to share ideas and best practice, to identify common challenges and to develop effective interventions.

As partnerships grow and deepen in their own unique way, and they work through a detailed needs-analysis process, they achieve results across four key areas: Leadership and Governance, The Curriculum, Enterprise and Employability, and Wider Issues.

The objective is to have as many schools as possible that are situated in disadvantaged areas having the ability to access long-term, strategic and sustainable support from business.

Business Class aims to:

    • Increase the quality of engagement between business and schools by identifying areas where they can work in partnership
    • Build long-term relationships between business and local schools
    • Support teachers, both in the classroom and in their own professional development
    • Develop new skills for business volunteers
    • Improve the achievement and employability skills of pupils in some of our most challenging schools
    • Create greater social cohesion by addressing the critical gap between employer requirements and the skills and aspirations of pupils in disadvantaged areas within Northern Ireland

Schools currently involved include: Ashfield Girls’ High School; Ballyclare Secondary School; Belfast Boys’ Model School; Fort Hill Integrated College; Lagan Integrated College; Lisneal College; Malone Integrated College; Mercy Primary School; Oakgrove Integrated College; St Brigid’s College; St Columb’s College and St Joseph’s Boys’ L’Derry.

Businesses currently involved include: Allen & Overy; Baker McKenzie; Belfast International Airport; firstsource Solutions Ltd; Lloyds Banking Group; Westrock MPS and Pinsent Masons.

To get involved, email emma.morrison@bitcni.org.uk, or call (028) 9046 0606. If you are situated in the North West, email sarah.quinn@bitcni.org.uk, or call (028) 7186 1550.