Business Action on Education is a nationwide initiative that aims to develop mutually beneficial partnerships between schools and businesses in Ireland which support the Government’s overall strategy on educational inclusion.
We operate by matching individual schools that are targeted through the School Completion Programme with a local company. We are the only business-education programme in Ireland that receives matching Government funds under the National Development Plan. Our suite of six programmes supports students, principals, and teachers in post-primary, and literacy & numeracy in primary schools.
To date over 448 partnerships have been established nationally, impacting over 43,000 students nationwide. Our primary school programme, Time to Read was first piloted in 2010 and has since involved almost 2,000 children
Companies who join the Network for Responsible Business can access our Business Action on Education programmes.
The benefits of the Business Action on Education programme to companies are significant:
The Business Action on Education programmes tackle these key issues:
Nationally some schools experience a higher than average rate of students leaving before completing their Leaving Certificate. Our aim has been to increase the student retention rates in these schools. By matching companies with these schools we provide numerous opportunities for students to gain insights into some of Ireland’s largest companies, their career opportunities and to help them broaden their horizons. Employees can provide one to one mentoring to students at risk and the impacts on both students and employees is significant.
Since our inception in 2000, Ireland’s retention rate have increased from 80% to 91.5% and Ireland is one of the top EU member states in terms of student retention.
Our ‘Time to Read’ programme provides an employee engagement opportunity for companies to engage in one to one reading sessions with local primary school children. Company volunteers are trained to use a variety of reading strategies to help the child develop their fluency and comprehension and therefore their confidence, in reading.
99% of company volunteers found the programme ‘very enjoyable’ or ‘enjoyable’.
“In a very difficult year and working environment it was a pleasure to do something like Time to Read with my colleagues and to give back in a meaningful way in our local community. It was so nice doing it in pairs with a colleague too. Time to Read was a great escape during Covid for me” – Company Volunteer
“We love being a part of this programme. We can clearly see the positive impact it has made over the years. It’s simply a fantastic programme.” – School Principal
Many children in Irish primary schools are not developing the necessary numeracy skills that allow them participate fully within the education system. Our Time to Count programme aims to support the Department of Education and Skills national strategy on literacy and numeracy. Experts agree that there is a need for initiatives in Ireland which support schools in finding ways to raise expectations for children’s literacy and numeracy achievement and to identify ways of helping families support their children’s development in these areas (DES, 2011).
“I enjoyed communicating about how we use numbers every day in our Company and hopefully it showed the class maths is actually used in real life. Definitely was something to look forward to each week and communication became easier each week.” – Company Volunteer
“Their confidence levels in communicating and reasoning for problem solving tasks increased greatly.” – Teacher
Many companies tell us about their concerns around future talent entering their industry sectors. We work with government, schools and businesses to facilitate the knowledge transfer, insight into industry and career/skills information between Ireland’s top STEM companies and STEM teachers. This means they are informed on the pipeline needs of our economy and can advise students about the STEM options open to them.
Our World of Work and Mentoring programmes work to build post-primary students links with local businesses.
Our Management Excellence for Principals & Industry Insights for Teachers and STEM – Seeing is Believing programmes aim to harvest the knowledge, skills and expertise of Ireland’s visionary business leaders by facilitating them in sharing business approaches to leadership, management and personal development.
Our Business Action on Education Programmes are delivered by The Schools’ Business Partnership and are funded by the Department of Education & Skills and Tusla and supported by Marks & Spencer, ESB, Cornmarket and participating companies.