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Get Involved with Schools Projects

By: Jennie Kermode - Updated: 10 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Business Schools Projects Local Business

Are you looking for a way to contribute to your local community and get yourself noticed by hundreds of future customers at the same time? Getting involved with projects in schools is a great way for a business to invest in society so that everybody wins. With budgets always under strain, teachers welcome local business support which can enable them to do anything from organising class trips to improving school facilities. So how should you go about it?

Approaching Schools

The first thing you need to understand about working with schools is that everything has to be done through the teachers. Even if your own child is a pupil at the school it's a bad idea to try and sound things out with the kids first. Not only could this been seen as inappropriate behaviour, but there can be a big gap between what kids think is a good idea and what teachers consider practical. It's no good raising kids' hopes only to find that you can't follow through.

The proper way to get your business involved with a school project is to make an appointment with the head teacher. They will be able to tell you what other business contributors are currently involved with, what they most need help with and how your own ideas might be incorporated into useful projects. They will take care of the administrative details and they may be able to provide you with advice on how to list your contributions in your own financial records. If you want pictures of yourself with school pupils, for promotional purposes, they will be able to secure the necessary permissions and organise the meeting.

Making an Investment

Schools need local business support for a wide range of projects. When you contribute financially you can choose whether to support an activity or the development of facilities. Activities, like trips, sports events and creative sessions, can attract a lot of attention from local newspapers and can provide great publicity for your business at the same time as enhancing the learning process for children. You may be able to contribute materials as well as money to these - for instance, packaging materials which businesses routinely throw away can be great for craft projects. Facilities attract less attention, though you may be able to get a small piece in the papers when the work is complete, but you can often arrange to have a plaque attached to them with your business name on it, or even to have them named after your business - a great way to create a lasting legacy and make a long term investment in your name recognition.

Providing Education

Another way in which your business can help schools is by directly contributing to education. There are two main ways to do this: visiting classes and arranging for classes to visit you.

Visiting classes means going into schools and talking to the children about what you do, to get them interested in the world of business. Sometimes this involves giving a talk to a group of younger children, followed by a question and answer session. In this case it's important to keep things simple and avoid using obscure business language. More often, though, it involves talking to small groups or single pupils who are close to school leaving age and are deciding what they want to do. Try to be ready to provide an overview of the various jobs involved in your business, though you should ideally let the pupils lead the discussion. If they find this useful, you may consider applying to become a work experience provider and get pupils directly involved in your business for a few weeks each year.

Allowing classes onto your business premises can be a hazardous undertaking. Depending on what you do, it can involve complex health and safety issues, it can result in damage to your property or even shoplifting. However if you work closely with the teachers it is normally possible to avoid any significant problems, and the educational benefit of such trips can be considerable. Kids often learn best in hands-on situations and many are excited by the chance to see just what it is that adults do all day. By welcoming them to your business, you may be helping to create the business stars of the future.

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