Partner in Business programme, Career Academies UK case study
About Career Academies UK
Career Academies UK was set up in 2002 and now works with 120 schools and colleges across the UK with the support of over 900 businesses. The aim of the programme is to raise the aspirations and employability skills of 16-to-19 year old students studying A-level or equivalent qualifications. Students benefit from mentoring, workplace visits, visiting speakers and paid internships.
As part of the programme students are given the opportunity to be matched with a mentor for 18 months, also known as a Partner in Business. They work together through a structured programme of meetings addressing the student’s current studies, plans for the future and readiness for the world of work. Mentors use their personal experiences and contacts to help the students appreciate the opportunities available to them and to develop the skills to rise to the challenge.
The programme involves a minimum of ten face-to-face meetings over an 18 month relationship, usually at the mentor’s workplace. Meetings are often supplemented with contact by telephone and email.
The Partner in Business programme was accredited with the Approved Provider Standard in 2009. Career Academies UK was the first national organisation to be accredited by the Institute of Education Business Excellence in 2009.
Aims of the programme:
- To raise the aspirations and employability skills of 16-to-19-year-old students studying A-level or equivalent qualifications
Outcomes for mentees:
Since the programme launched in 2002, over 2,800 students have graduated from the programme. In 2009:
- 72% of graduates went on to higher education
- 15% of graduates gained full-time employment
- 5% of graduates continued into further education
Recent research with Partner in Business programme graduates found:
- 97% said the programme had a positive impact on their education or career aspirations
- 95% felt that the programme had a positive impact on their future opportunities as a whole
Outcomes for mentors
Many volunteers report that they have a positive experience of mentoring a Career Academy student:
“I viewed my involvement with the programme to be a great way to develop myself as a coach and mentor, by being able to share my life experiences with somebody who is interested to learn more and in turn develop themselves.”
Personal impact statements
“Having an experienced Partner in Business mentor makes me feel more professional and gives me that extra confidence to make my mark. His support and availability has helped me to understand the sort of behaviour required in the business world. I would have to say that my Partner in Business mentor has played a major role in my success.”
“I wanted to actively help the local community and work with young people to help raise their aspirations, so this was the perfect fit. Throughout the past months I have seen my mentee’s confidence blossom and noticed she has become more outspoken and outgoing. I would definitely recommend employers to get involved, as it helps give young students a greater awareness of how the business world works and what corporate life is like, insights that they would not necessarily be exposed to from school alone.”