"This year we grew our work with Ahead Partnership by launching new initiatives through their school-specific programme Make the Grade. 41% of pupils involved are eligible for Pupil Premium. The national average is 29%. This suggests Make the Grade is reaching more students from disadvantaged areas - which is an important part of our work in levelling the playing field."
Landsec Sustainability Report 2017
"Ahead Partnership have brought so many renowned employers together to help prepare learners for the world of work. Such partnership work hugely benefits young people, helping them prepare for the transition from education to employment."
Sam Wright, Principal, Wakefield College
92% OF EMPLOYERS SAID MAKE THE GRADE HELPED THEM BUILD MORE POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS WITH SCHOOLS
90% OF STUDENTS SAID THAT TAKING PART IN MAKE THE GRADE ACTIVITIES LED THEM TO WORK HARDER AT SCHOOL
93% OF YOUNG PEOPLE THAT TAKE PART FEEL THAT MAKE THE GRADE HAS HELPED THEM BE BETTER PREPARED FOR THE WORLD OF WORK
"The hard reality of soft skills is these things around the workplace, and these things around character and resilience are important for anybody to achieve in life, as well as for the success of our economy,"
Damien Hinds, Secretary of State for Education
Why it works
Make the Grade is a proven, externally validated model which is supported by some of the UK’s largest employers, the Department for Education (DfE), government and the European Commission.
In 2016-17 we commissioned an independent evaluation of our Make the Grade programme. This was carried out by York Consulting and assessed the effectiveness of the programme during 2013-16 when the programme received funding from Big Lottery Fund.
The report revealed six critical success factors for Make the Grade which underpin its performance, effectiveness and impact as a tool for both employers and learning providers.
VALUE FOR MONEY
Schools and employers all agreed that it would be difficult and very costly for them to emulate Make the Grade themselves. Finding staff resource, fostering relations, developing ideas and suitable materials is challenging and more easily delivered through Make the Grade.
WORKING EFFECTIVELY IN PARTNERSHIP
At the centre of Make the Grade’s success is effective partnership working. Employers and education partners consistently report that Make the Grade is professional, organised and based on a strong two-way dialogue.
Employers view Make the Grade as an effective and high impact way of addressing organisational objectives around education, unemployment and/or local communities. Education partners report that Make the Grade better equips young people for the world of work and helps them make more informed decisions.
Education partners and employers all agreed that the programme is tailored to their own priorities/needs. Activities are tailored to local circumstances, both social and economic, and a strong sense of local relevance is brought through insight provided by our team.
CO-ORDINATION AND COMMUNICATION
Make the Grade significantly reduces the administrative and operational difficulties faced by employers and schools when setting up and maintaining education-business partnerships. All partners praised our project management, administration and co-ordination skills.
TEAM AND ETHOS
Our staff are considered to be ambitious for our purpose, innovative, helpful and committed to continuous improvement. Our team and its ethos are integral to our brand and the success of Make the Grade as we all want the programme to excel.
The government’s new Careers Strategy (2017) highlights the importance of employers’ involvement in careers programmes, and how they can shape and inform their future workforce by engaging in well-planned, face-to-face activities with young people in their operating areas.
The Good Careers Guidance Report (2017) defines the key features of a successful careers programme known as the 8 Gatsby benchmarks, which are all at the core of our Make the Grade model.