Partnerships between charities and businesses aren’t only restricted to material contributions. Our work with Deloitte has been a flagship example of the many innovative ways in which these relationships can make use of the strengths of both parties to create even more valuable social change.
Deloitte has been a supporter of our work since 2005, and in the very earliest stages of our relationship they helped us with our accountancy needs. One of their audit partners, Sarah Shillingford, remains a Trustee to this day. Being an experienced graduate recruiter, they also provided us with support in interviewing and selecting participants for our Leadership Development Programme, when it was still in its infancy. Additionally, Deloitte senior leaders have been actively involved in supporting the governance of Teach First, with Deloitte Chair, David Cruickshank, serving on our Business Leaders’ Council.
One of the results of this long-term collaboration has been that Deloitte is home to a thriving community of Teach First ambassadors (alumni of our programme), who use the knowledge and experience they gained as teachers to spearhead ventures aimed at ending educational inequality, whilst employing skills developed in the classroom to effectively serve their clients.
As we have grown to take on more participants and employees, Deloitte has used its expertise to help us develop our long-term organisational strategy, and has shared its insights on how to seek more diverse ways of partnering with businesses, beyond monetary support – something which was particularly valuable in a tough economic climate.
Deloitte has also long taken an active interest in our higher education access work, which is aimed at supporting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds work towards a place in higher education. Our Futures programme is our main venture in this area – it offers mentoring and other support designed to help these young people hone their ability to formulate and achieve ambitious goals when thinking about their futures in education or employment.
When we were getting this programme off the ground, Deloitte was already supporting us in diversifying our corporate partnerships, so they were perfectly suited to take on a more active role in our higher education access work.
This is why we joined together to support Deloitte in delivering the ground-breaking Deloitte Access Programme. Launched in September 2013, Deloitte Access is designed to raise aspiration, support achievement and provide opportunities for students in our partner schools. The programme aims to improve social mobility and create a fairer society by supporting young people from under-represented groups to build their ambition and develop their skills, whilst providing the opportunities they need to access professional careers at companies like Deloitte. Students are supported by Deloitte volunteers to take part in a range of skills-based activities and workshops, as well as through mentoring relationships.
The first year of the programme has shown great engagement from Deloitte’s staff, with over 600 volunteers getting involved, and the company has also had very positive feedback from schools about the difference the programme is making. In its first year Deloitte Access has reached over 2,500 pupils.
Teach First and Deloitte see the partnership as a model for future collaborations between charities and businesses, one we hope will be adopted more widely.