Australian Council for Educational Research
The report by Sheldon Rothman discusses research that engaged directly with school leaders and teachers around what they want from engagement with business, including reflections on experiences to date.
In recent years there have been policy discussions of the potential value of businesses engaging in the school education sector. However, the voice of educators is rarely heard, and teachers’ perspective is vital to understanding what would ensure positive outcomes from such engagement. This research addresses this by engaging directly with school leaders and teachers around what they want from engagement with business, including reflections on experiences to date.
Comparing the results of the survey conducted during 2018 in schools already
engaged with the ABCN (‘ABCN schools’) with results of the survey conducted in 2019 with
samples of schools in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria (‘Sample schools’), these were the primary findings:
- Educators see business having a critical role to play as a partner to support
Australian students. Over 90% of the schools surveyed want to increase their
current engagement with business
- Schools want to engage with business for a variety of reasons, particularly increasing
students engagement with learning, building student awareness and aspirations
about potential careers, and developing students’ ‘future work’ capabilities and
understanding of future work environments.
- Some educators also see value in engaging with business for educators’ own
professional development and awareness of the changing world of work.
- Schools are looking to increase engagement with business across the board.
- Schools are trying for breadth and depth in their engagement with business: breadth
through activities like careers talks that reach high numbers of students but lightly,
and depth through personalised, targeted interventions such as mentoring and work
experience. Many schools are happy to contemplate a wide array of engagement
- Schools with limited engagement with business are more likely to focus on ‘hard skills’ Those with a deeper engagement also focus on ‘soft skills’ vital for the constantly changing world of work.
- Engagement with schools generally builds a positive perception of business in the
community. In addition, schools are positive about how willing business are to support young
people and their impact on their students.
- Very few schools have had a negative experience with businesses. However, awareness of such pitfalls can assist in developing positive, long-lasting school–business relationships.
The four key lessons are:
- Schools want to engage more with business.
- Schools want to engage with business both broadly and in-depth for more personalised learning opportunities and are open to various opportunities.
- Engagement with schools builds a positive perception of business in the community.
- Some schools still need assistance in establishing engagement with business.