Business & Education Alliance

See it Be it in Sheffield’s Business & Education Alliance (BEA) project, which supported small and micro businesses to engage in Careers Education, has ended after three successful years. 

The project engaged 64 different businesses, from sole traders and micro businesses through to larger SMEs, taking in charities and social enterprises along the way. 12,589 students benefited from activities run over the course of the project, with 84 different volunteers involved, and we leave a lasting legacy in terms of our ways of working and our offer to employers.

Funded by The European Social Fund, participants on the project received free support from an Adviser, who would get to know them, find out their motivations for being involved, and help match them to the opportunities in schools and colleges, as well as bringing them in to a network of like-minded individuals and businesses. 

Many of the people involved in the project were new to working in schools and colleges, but have now gone on to take part in multiple engagements, even forming ongoing relationships with schools and colleges as Enterprise Advisers or through the BiG Challenge.

Headshot of Rhian Scott

Rhian Scott, RJS Business Support

Rhian Scott, a self-employed HR Consultant got involved as she wanted to make sure young people could find out about all the amazing jobs that are available in Sheffield. She liked the fact that we hand-picked activities that could fit around her diary and has taken part in Careers in the Curriculum sessions, Mock Interviews and What’s my Line sessions. Rhian said “I love spending time in schools and seeing the difference it makes to the students and their confidence. I have conducted a number of mock interviews and it is really rewarding to be able to provide feedback and visibly see the pride students have that they have not only ‘got through it’ but actually done really well and have useful feedback to do better next time.” 

Paper Design Studio are a digital agency who engaged with the project as they had been struggling to recruit for their vacancies and wanted to raise awareness of different roles available and what it is like to work for them. We supported Paper to develop a workshop that could be delivered by any of their staff members, which they now confidently deliver in schools, helping young people to develop new skills. Jon Rhodes, Delivery Manager, Director & Co-Founder at Paper said “the benefits are huge – it’s a step to make Paper a more welcoming place to work, to encourage anyone to think about the work we do as a potential career option.”

Two volunteers from Paper talking to a classroom

Cam Spillman and Jon Rhodes, Paper Design Studio

Volunteer talking to a classroom

Tina Havenhand, MGRW

Self-employed Digital Marketing consultant Harvey Morton, Tina Havenhand from accountancy firm MGRW, Chris Cain from training provider First Intuition and Paul Simpson from online retailer Food Circle Supermarket, were all participants in the project who initially took part in one-off activities, but are now partnered with schools as Enterprise Advisers, providing strategic support, employer encounters and contacts to help their matched schools develop their careers programmes.

Rhian and Tina also represent us as Ambassadors, alongside other participants Heather Chapman (The Web Word), John Chapman (Past Lives Ancestry and Research), Dan Laver (Bag it Don’t Bin it), Andrew Sherwin (The Curve), Mark Storey (SCCC) and Jill White and Danielle Sheldon (Andy Hanselman Consulting), ensuring the voice of small business is well represented in shaping our offer and encouraging others to get involved.

Funding for the BEA also enabled us to set up our brokering service to provide meaningful encounters in schools and colleges, and to run networking events and marketing campaigns to get people excited about this agenda. By linking the BEA to the Levelling up Futures in Sheffield programme, we strengthened our links with Sheffield Business Together / Sheffield Chamber of Commerce to support social mobility in education and offer an extra level of service to special schools and those in areas of deprivation. It also helped us to get more businesses engaged with the BiG Challenge and BiG Community Challenge, to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Graham Booth, Senior Project Officer on the BEA said “this has been an amazing project to be involved in, building lasting relationships with people who want to inspire the next generation and help improve life chances. Not only have we have created a brilliant, supportive network of businesses, but also leave a legacy in terms of the whole See it Be it campaign, which wouldn’t have been possible without this pot of funding.” 

Volunteer speaking to students

Heather Chapman, The Web Word

We are pleased to say that all these things are continuing for 2024 and we are still around and providing support for businesses to engage in careers education. You can check live opportunities in schools and colleges here, and we are happy to meet with employers to discuss any future requirements for you. We are also starting to branch out our offer to 18-25 year olds who are not in employment, education or training, and running some activities in primary schools, so there are some new ways to get involved.

If you want to know more about our work and how we can support your involvement in Careers Education, contact us on