It has never been more important to prepare the next generation for life outside of the classroom. As I reach the milestone of my first 12 months in post as Chief Executive of The Education Business Partnership, it gives me the opportunity to reflect on the year and to think about the progress that we, as a team have made in 2019.

The first thing that strikes me are the number of positive partnerships we have developed in 2019. As an organisation that links the worlds of education and business together, much of our work can only be successful with the involvement of the business community. I’ve been really encouraged by the very positive support we have received from the business community and we are looking forward to building on this in 2020.

At The EBP, we recognise that there has never been a more important time to get young people ready for the world of work. Earlier this year, Youth Employment UK’s annual Youth Voice Census report found that young people see more value than ever in work experience and knowledge about different careers. Equally, some of the biggest barriers young people face in finding employment can be lack of experience and not having or understanding the right skills for the job. This is why it is important for businesses to link up with schools to give children and young people a real-life insight into what the world of work is like.

2019 saw us launch our new product portfolio offering a range of innovative programmes and services from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 4 and 16+, all complementing the national curriculum, the Ofsted Inspection Framework, Gatsby Benchmarks and national priorities around preparing young people for learning, living and life. I’m particularly proud of our new Camp Resilience programme which supports young people from all walks of life to develop their wellbeing and resilience, which is essential in preparing young people for the world of work and adult life.

A personal highlight of the year for me was seeing The EBP included on the Natwest SE100 Index for the UK’s leading social enterprises. Our social enterprise status remains hugely important to us and to be recognised as one of the top 100 businesses of their type is something that everyone at The EBP is incredibly proud of.

As the year draws to a close, I would like to thank all the businesses and organisations that have supported our work this year. We’re excited about what lies ahead and we are always on the lookout for new organisations to join our EBP network. The support of the business community can make the world of difference in helping us to bring the world of work into the classroom whilst supporting schools and education settings to meet the priorities for their children and young people. We are always looking for new partners and business sponsors so please get in touch if you’d like to find out more about how you can get involved!

Finally, I would like to take the opportunity to thank my fantastic team at The EBP. The team has worked incredibly hard in 2019 to develop new services, secure new business and contracts and, most importantly of all, improve outcomes for children and young people. I am proud to be leading such a hard-working and committed team.

Michelle Allison is the Chief Executive of The Education Business Partnership (EBP)