Business Action on Education

Business impacting education in Ireland

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, teachers, the STEM agenda and children’s literacy & numeracy in primary schools.

To date over 400 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

business action on educationCompanies 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:

  • Access to ‘off the shelf’ employee engagement opportunities
  • Practical supports for enhancing diversity and inclusion in Irish society
  • Opportunity to be a positive influence in a young person’s life
  • Training opportunity for staff when it comes to leadership and mentoring
  • Improved reputation and trust with local communities
  • A clear signal to employees of commitment to a key national issue
  • Measurable impacts and detailed reports

The Business Action on Education programmes tackle these key issues:

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.

100% of company volunteers found the programme ‘very enjoyable’ or ‘enjoyable’.

Company volunteer comment: “Time to read was one of the highlights of my year, I loved getting to know the children and seeing them every Tuesday brightened my day!”

 Principal comment:  “The positive attitude and approach towards the children was hugely beneficial.  Having other people sit down and read with the boys made them realise that it’s not just for school with your teacher and that it can be fun to do together with others!  I couldn’t recommend this initiative highly enough!”

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).

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 90.4% and Ireland is one of the top EU member states in terms of student retention

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 Management Excellence for Principals & 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.