Skills and Education in Responsible Business
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A year ago, Deloitte embarked on an ambitious programme to change the futures of one million people. One year on and the impact of One Million Futures is truly impressive. However, for Fiona Walker, Responsible Business lead Partner, it is the individual stories that are truly inspirational.
The results are in. In the last year our professionals have volunteered 31,000 hours of their time and provided £700,000 of pro bono services to the 54 schools, charities and social enterprises we have partnered with through One Million Futures. Already more than 138,000 'futures' have been directly impacted and, now we are helping these amazing organisations to develop and grow, we are on target to reach one million.
While these figures are incredibly impressive (and if you are one of our volunteers, thank you), what really stands out as we look back at the first year of One Million Futures are the individual stories of lives transformed by education or training opportunities.
The start of the new academic year is an exciting time for pupils, and those that support them. As part of our education programme, Deloitte Access, volunteers are helping students from all backgrounds to prepare for success. Runa Khanom-Bakshi is a consultant in our Cardiff office, and her son, Yousuf, attends one of the schools benefiting from Access. After he achieved 13 A*s in his GCSEs, Runa shares her own experience of the difference that employers can make.
This time last year I was launching my online maths tutorial business…from the spare bedroom at the top of my house.
One year on and Hegarty Maths is now being used in over 10 per cent of secondary schools and by 5,700 teachers to plan classes, assess pupils and set and track homework.
More than one million hours of learning have already been completed and an astounding 60 million questions have been answered.
Going forward the figures are even more ambitious and we are on track to be in 1,000 schools helping one million children.
Impressed? Well, I haven’t done it on my own.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of young people all across the UK walk with some trepidation into their first interviews. Every year, the same demographics tend to get chosen: university educated, attendees of selective schools, articulate and well presented. But does this mean that the best candidates are getting the jobs? Or are we failing to spot a huge pool of talent that hasn’t had a chance to hone their interpersonal skills?
The charity City Gateway thinks so. They run courses offering young people aged 16-25 skills workshops, work experience, CV and interview skills preparation. Last year the charity was selected to be a Deloitte society partner as part of One Million Futures. Their aim is to bring hope to communities by developing the skills and confidence needed to secure long-term education and employment outcomes that will transform futures.
Deloitte has been a supporter of Teach First since 2005, playing a hugely influential role in our work to give more young people access to higher education and careers. We were delighted to recently recognise Deloitte as one of the charities first Transformation Partners – a select dedicated group of businesses that have worked with us for over ten years and individually donated over £1,000,000 to our work. This group’s unique and invaluable support has had a huge impact on our ability to reach over a million pupils from low-income communities across England and Wales.
20 March 2017. The Grand Final of the TMT Predictions Schools Challenge 2017; an initiative created to ‘plug the skills gap’ for clients who report challenges in engaging young people with the skills and interest to pursue careers in the Technology, Media or Telecommunications (TMT) sectors. Milton Keynes Academy had been given the topic of Biometrics and were tasked with presenting a relevant, innovative use for the technology. Myself, along with two colleagues, Deane Copson and Michael Garz, were first time coaches for the school, who had now reached the finals for the third year in succession. The competition was tough, but we were confident that our and MK Academy’s revolutionary concept, “BioBuddi”, would catch the attention of the judges.
Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions Schools Challenge 2016: An exciting vision for the future!
There is a rich and fascinating history that stems from Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM); one that has been pioneered by some of the greatest and most creative minds, including Stephen Hawkins, Tim Berners-Lee and Ada Lovelace.
But despite the feats accomplished in these fields, we know that too few young people are pursuing an active interest in these subjects, with massive implications on their attainment and the opportunities available to them in the future. This is especially true amongst pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, with fifty eight per cent of those eligible for free school meals in 2011 failing to achieve a maths GCSE grade at A*-C (Skills Commission, 2011).
Where we come from is an important part of our identities, however it should not define or limit our aspirations. I was reminded of this while at Moseley School in Birmingham last week, where 40% of the 1,400 students are eligible for free school meals. The importance of social mobility at the school cannot be under-estimated in light of the uncomfortable fact that across the UK, children receiving free school meals achieve 1.7 grades lower at GCSE (source: Child Poverty Action Group). Social mobility is a complex issue, but last week we demonstrated our commitment to playing our part in addressing it through Social Mobility Week and some other commitments.
At Teach First, we are delighted to see the return of Deloitte’s annual Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions Schools Challenge this year reaching sixth form students from across Deloitte Access partner schools as well as a wider network of schools. The event directly supports our vision to give every child access to a brilliant education and our commitment to tackling the shortage of specialist Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) teachers in the UK.
In recent years, this shortage has meant that schools in low-income communities have been hit especially hard. Less than a third of students eligible for free school meals achieve a science GCSE at grade A*-C, compared with 70% of their wealthier peers.
Growing up in Belfast during the 1970s and 1980s, I was the first person in my family to pass the 11+, to go to grammar school and then onto university. I am now a Partner at Deloitte, one of the biggest management consultancies in the UK. I work hard and enjoy what I do and never really thought that my story was in any way unusual. Having three children of my own now and seeing how hard they have to work and the competition that exists for jobs, I imagine that my story would be less common today.
We know from research that socio-economics is a major determinant of educational outcomes. Another impact of this is that many young people find themselves in challenging schools without the support they need to make the best choices or compete for the best jobs. And this is often exacerbated by employers who want to recruit in the most cost-effective way possible – which often means going to just a select few universities where they can take their pick from a very talented and high performing student population. But increasingly this is not a diverse one.