In January this year, ABCN merged with Melbourne-based Schools Connect Australia (SCA), enabling the national roll-out of Business Class under the ABCN name and significantly broadening our reach.
Business Class is unique in that it operates on a one-school to one-business ratio. This enables tailored support that targets specific, whole-school challenges over a minimum three-year period. Partnerships are also grouped into collaborative clusters in local areas, meeting regularly to share best practice, identify common challenges and accelerate improvements that will create long term, broad community change.
While Business Class has operated with great success in the UK for many years, the program is still relatively new in Australia – and up until now, has only been accessible in Victoria. So we are delighted to report the launch of the first Business Class cluster in Perth, WA.
Initiated by the John Laing Group Limited, a long-time supporter of the program, the cluster also includes Hassell Architects, Cox Architecture, Brookfield Multiplex and KPMG. All of these companies are already currently working together on the new Westadium development in Perth.
Impacting positively in the community is a key principle of the John Laing Group globally. The organisation has a number of longstanding relationships with local and national charities, with the aspiration of developing and maturing community projects into sustainable solutions. In the UK, John Laing has been involved with Business Class since its inception, so it is fitting that the same organisation should spearhead this latest cluster in Perth
Each company within the cluster has already been matched with an ABCN partner-school:
Girrawheen Senior High School (John Laing)
Swan View Senior High School (Brookfield Multiplex)
John Forrest Secondary College (Hassel & Cox Architects)
Wanneroo Secondary College (KPMG)
Working with ABCN, each school has also undertaken a needs-assessment based on the main pillars of the program – leadership and governance, curriculum, enterprise and employability and wider issues. From this partnership agenda, a long-term action plan will be put in place to best make use of company resources and start making a difference.
Business Class is a great opportunity for Perth business to expand its impact in disadvantaged schools. As the Westadium project progresses and new contractors come on board, it’s likely that the cluster will grow. In the meantime, the four existing partnerships will all be fully operating by the end of May this year and we will watch with interest as their relationships develop.