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In November 2014, July 15th was declared by the United Nations General Assembly to be annually known as World Youth Skills Day. Spearheaded by Sri Lanka, the theme of the day is “Learning to learn for life and work”, and the aim is to raise awareness and spark discussion on the importance of technical and vocational education, and the development of skills that are useful to both local and global economies. By raising awareness, and by sparking those discussions throughout businesses, it’s hoped that unemployment and underemployment amongst youth will be reduced, and opportunities will arise for the youth of today to step onto their own career path while simultaneously drawing attention to the need for marketable skills throughout the working industries.

To help spread the message of World Youth Skills Day, there are various ways that employers can engage with the local communities and schools. And there are also a variety of ways that employers can forge and build up valuable relationships with local schools to future proof their business and secure future employees. It’s important that businesses work with their local school’s to demonstrate the value of and the need for business skills.

Below are 5 activities that a business can undertake to blossom a relationship with local schools.

1. Hold talks during class

One simple, but effective way to begin building a relationship in the classroom is to give a talk to students. Presenting a short talk will give a business the opportunity to inspire the students with a little bit of the ‘real world’ insight. It costs nothing but a little bit of time, and most teachers will be grateful for the extra planning time they can acquire while the students still learn.

2. Attend school career fairs

This route will give business’ the chance to really showcase their need for fresh talent and skill. Students will be there to specifically inquire about their future opportunities, so it’s a great chance to talk to them.

3. Host a work experience student

It’s one thing to talk about youth skills, but it’s another thing entirely to act upon it. By accommodating a work experience student, a business will get the chance to develop the youth’s skill set, and potentially set alight a passion that will change the student’s future career path entirely.

4. Teach the Teachers

It’s not just the students who need teaching. It might also be beneficial for the teachers to really get to grips with local businesses so that they can Identify students who may be interested in working in a relevant sector or industry.

5. Allow visitations

It’s no secret that school students love a trip out of the classroom and, it doesn’t take much to invite a local school to explore a business’ facility and to meet the workers. While visitations may in some cases be logistically a little difficult to navigate, they are a great way to inspire a class of students and a brilliant way to widen their horizons and open their eyes up to jobs they wouldn’t otherwise know exist.

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