Education and Employers connects schools across the UK with volunteers
Inspiring children to see what is possible
Did you ever sit in maths class wondering how fractions will help you land your dream job? Or dismiss your teenage passion as just a hobby not a career? The gulf between education and the world of work can seem huge, which means many children leave school confused and intimidated.
In 2009 the charity Education and Employers was founded to help pupils get a better understanding of the right path for them. Working in partnership with schools, colleges, employers and the Department for Education, the charity has been helping young people achieve their potential and boost the UK’s talent pool.
“We know that giving young people the chance to meet volunteers from the world of work makes a difference in broadening their horizons and inspiring them to work harder to get where they want to be when they leave school,” said Katy Langham, Director of Operation and Programmers for the organisation. “Our volunteers participate in a range of in-school activities – from conducting mock interviews and assisting with work placement plans to providing insights on industry sectors.”
Education and Employers, working in partnership with the National Association of Head Teachers, has also pioneered getting more volunteers into primary schools. “Children can get fixed ideas about jobs at a young age and start to rule out options for themselves. It’s vital that children get to see the range of possibilities open to them and see the relevance of the subjects they are studying at school,” said Langham.
Education and Employers has a big reach but a small pool of dedicated resource. Over 40,000 people have registered their interest to volunteer, and collectively they have contributed to more than 3,700 school visits per year, supporting over one million pupil interactions since the programme began. All this activity is co-ordinated by a small team based predominantly in London. “With Salesforce, we can enable schools and volunteers to connect securely, online, and for free, making the most of our resources and inspiring more children,” said Alasdair Smith, Education and Employers’ Salesforce CRM Manager. “It’s really rewarding to see what a difference CRM has made to our organisation, being able to demonstrate the impact of volunteering to our supporters and stakeholders is key – and there’s still a lot more that we want to achieve.”
Better ways of working
Every member of the Education and Employers’ team uses the Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) every day to log queries from schools or new contacts, engage with employers, and generate reports. “For me, it’s the backbone of how our organisation operates, and how we can reach as many young people as we do,” said Langham. “Being able to build automated workflows to send relevant information to our users at the appropriate time, and raise cases and actions for different staff and track these is invaluable.”
Langham and her colleagues also use Chatter to collaborate, whether they work in the office or are based at home. “Sharing updates on projects and feedback from schools helps everyone feel like part of the team, even if they work remotely,” said Smith. “I find Chatter really useful for ensuring everyone has the latest files and information about using the platform.”
Bringing volunteers and teachers together
Langham and Smith have taken their collaborative vision one step further by creating three communities built on Experience Cloud for Nonprofits with support from developers at a Salesforce partner organisation. “We can support teachers, recruit new governors for schools and colleges, and connect with our volunteers more easily,” said Langham. “It’s a real game-changer.
More than 45,000 users are able to take advantage of the communities, which are integrated with Education and Employers’ website. The volunteer and teacher communities feature a unique mapping capability supported by Ordnance Survey that brings together the right people in the right location. “Each volunteer has a profile showing their credentials, and can be invited to do a classroom talk, or attend an event,” said Smith. “In the past, matching volunteers to opportunities was complex, but the Salesforce community looks great and is easy to use.
Growing the school governor community
Education and Employers is keen to encourage its volunteers to take the next step in supporting not only pupils but also schools. “Becoming a governor is a great way of making a difference in your community and developing your professional skills. There are already more than 250,000 people serving as governors in the UK, but still thousands of vacancies and schools in need of support,” said Langham. “Our matchmaking community built on Experience Cloud for Nonprofits is called Inspiring Governance and is fully supported and funded by the Department of Education.”
In the future, Education and Employers hopes the communities will become as intuitive and inclusive as social media platforms, enabling schools to nurture sustainable and supportive networks.
“We’re not just giving people a platform to post things on, we’ve also built up a library of guidelines and useful resources using Salesforce Knowledge,” said Langham.
“We’ve only been live with the new platform for a few months and still inevitably have a few bugs to fix, but we’re already getting great feedback from users, and for the first time being able to get a picture of governor vacancies with over 2,000 vacancies having been registered since the platform went live.
Smarter insights, greater reach
The ability to report on the communities’ success is hugely important to securing future funding from the government and private donors. It can also help to identify gaps that the organisation needs to address, such as when there are a significant number of governor vacancies to fill. “With Salesforce, we can cut our data in a variety of different ways,” said Smith. “We can also pull reports for our stakeholders and fundraisers much faster, safe in the knowledge that our data is accurate and secure.”
With its matchmaking communities in full swing, Education and Employers can now focus on extending its reach and its team, which doubled in size during 2017.
“We want to bring greater equality to our services: reaching rural schools and finding volunteers from other sectors,” said Langham. “With Salesforce, we can empower our small team to reach a big audience, which means more children will be able to fulfil their career dreams when they leave school.”