Partnership milestones being celebrated. 

BITCI News - Oct 19, 2023

Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) is delighted to be marking the 20-year anniversary of partnerships between some leading companies and their local DEIS school. These companies, Marks and Spencer, KMPG and Cisco have encouraged their staff to actively volunteer in our Student Mentoring or World of Work programmes since 2003.  

Our Student Mentoring Programme supports senior cycle pupils whereby the employee agrees to be a mentor offering advice on a 1:1 basis on career direction, future studies, CV writing, interview preparation and other work-related soft skills. While the World of Work programme targets 2nd year students to encourage them to stay in school and receive career insights and soft skills training from employees in a local company, including undertaking a company site visit. These programmes are part-funded by the Department of Education, TESS (TUSLA Educational Support Service) and basis.point. 

Norma Foley TD, Minister for Education highlighted

“these programmes help break the cycle of educational disadvantage as the support and insights the pupils receive leads to them increasing their own expectations and broadening their future career ambitions. The commitment and dedication to the partnership as demonstrated by reaching this milestone shows how integral the programmes have become in both the school activities and the companies’ employee offering. I wish them continued success in their collaborations”.  

Andrea Lazenby Simpson, BITCI Head of Education said

“We are very grateful to Marks and Spencer, KPMG and Cisco for their continued support to delivering our programmes. To reach 20 years of a partnership is a testament to the leadership within the company and the school and demonstrates the value of these programmes. At an individual level, these programmes have led to increased student’s self-confidence, motivating them to stay on in school and preparing them for their own job search. For the companies it has forged very strong partnerships with their local school and in some cases led to former mentees being hired by the company. It is a clear example of the benefits of collaborative working.”

The schools involved in these partnerships are: 

School   Company  Programme 
CBS Westland Row, Dublin 2  KPMG  Student Mentoring 
Ringsend College, Dublin 4  Cisco  World of Work 
Larkin Community College, Dublin 1  Marks & Spencer  World of Work 


During 2022-23, BITCI’s education programmes had a positive and direct impact on almost 4,800 students, with almost 80% of them being on our headline programme, World of Work with the 2nd year group (aged 13-14 years). These programmes are beneficial because they impact the students in most need of supports and in most danger of education disadvantage, which in time can lead to social exclusion. In parallel, our recent evaluation of the Student Mentoring programme found 98% of students would recommend the programme to another student. 

 “It’s a really good experience to get you thinking about your future and feel more prepared to go into the workplace.” – Student on World of Work programme 

BITCI is proud these programmes have grown over the past two decades with more companies and students benefiting throughout the country. The need for such initiatives is as strong as ever to break down barriers for those individuals who continue to be marginalised from the labour market.  

This year, also sees the following Dublin based companies marking 10 years of their partnership: 

School   Company  Programme 
Fingal Community College, Swords, Co. Dublin  Siemens Healthineers  Student Mentoring 
Ellenfield Community College, Whitehall, Dublin 9  Eirgrid  Student Mentoring 


For more information on how companies and schools can join our education programmes please visit: Our Education Programmes (

Tags: , , , ,