Opening Doors for Business

Redditch Businesses Open Their Doors to RSA Schools

Following a successful pilot in Redditch last summer, RSA Academies is now planning for even more young people to have the opportunity to find out about life working in local businesses in 2018. The launch event for Opening Doors to Business 2018 will be held at the Palace Theatre, Redditch on Wednesday 24th January. If you are an employer or RSA Fellow working locally we would love to see you there!

In June a number of Redditch businesses ‘opened their doors’ to over a 100 students from local schools, including RSA schools Arrow Vale RSA Academy, Ipsley CE RSA Academy and Church Hill Middle School. This exciting and important project was organised by an innovative partnership between the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, NWedR (North Worcestershire Economic Development and Regeneration) and RSA Academies.

For two weeks, students from our Redditch schools across Key Stage 3 (11-14 year olds) and 4 (14-16 year olds) had the opportunity to visit and gain experience and understanding of a variety of businesses: from Mettis Aerospace to Micro Springs & Presswork, from the Palace Theatre to Rockline to the local police.

Students had a range of experiences on their visits, including tours of the workplace, speed networking with members of staff, presentations on careers and the different kinds of roles within workplaces and hands-on activities, such as planning a police investigation or making a spring in the Micro Springs factory. Student feedback was enthusiastic and many felt that the visits helped them think about their future, such as what options to pick at GCSE. As one student said:

“As a result of the visit I’d probably go for the two main topics of maths and science, then also go for DT, art and woodwork. These would help me with designing as well as creating.”

The aim of the project was to replace traditional careers fairs with, new more impact intensive ways of ensuring that local school pupils had an increased awareness of local opportunities open to them. It has been a very exciting opportunity to bring aspects of the RSA Academies ‘Preparing for the World Beyond School’ Commitment to life, with workplace visits a key step towards students developing a wide range of skills and knowledge so they can thrive in continuing education, the world of work and in society.

As Jenny Lewis, one of our teachers from Church Hill Middle School, commented:

“Workplace visits are so important for our students to see outside their four walls. Often they’re very blinkered in their own environments so they can’t see what else is out there to help them make a decision for their future.  This ethos of students looking at themselves beyond education and into the world of work is underpinned throughout the Family of RSA Academies, as signalled by the World Beyond School Commitment that we’ve all signed up for.”

The next step will be a celebration event on 24th January, which will be an opportunity to share the Opening Doors programme with a wider audience, and also to launch the programme for 2018, where the aim will be to involve more schools, more students from across Key Stages and more businesses. Almost all of these visits have been captured on film, including interviews with pupils and business leaders, and will be premiered at the launch. Through the event, we intend to show how the Opening Doors Project is a very scalable and sustainable model, with longer-term plans to expand to Coventry, Birmingham and the Black Country.

If your business is in one of these areas and you are interested in attending or if you would like to discuss other ways of helping pupils at schools in the RSA Family of Academies explore the world of work, please contact either contact Arvind Batra or Andy Bywater.

RSA Academies would like to thank all the businesses that both offered and hosted a visit as part of Opening Doors and would particularly like to thank Andy Bywater, RSA Fellow and NWedR’s officer for Strategic Skills Development in North Worcestershire, and Arvind Batra, our cross-Family KS3 Careers Coordinator, for all the work they put in to make this project such a success.