Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) has a suite of education programmes that aim to develop mutually beneficial partnerships between schools and business 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. Time to Read was first piloted in 2010 and has since involved almost 3,000 children. In 2016, we piloted are Time to Count programme which has since involved almost 1,00 children.
The benefits of the education programmes to companies are significant:
Companies who join the Network for Responsible Business can access our education programmes, tackling 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.
Department of Education – Retention Rates of Pupils in Second-Level Schools
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
We provide companies with opportunities to reach out and develop links with the future talent entering their industry sectors. Our World of Work and Student Mentoring programmes aim to bridge the gap between business and students preparing for future careers. With the government, schools, and businesses we facilitate the knowledge transfer, insight into industry and career/skills information between Ireland’s top companies and students. This means they are informed on the pipeline needs of economy and can guide students on the options open to them.
Our Management Excellence for Principals and Industry Insights for Teachers programmes aim to harvest visionary by providing industry insights and sharing business approaches to leadership and management