Volunteering as a governor can be an opportunity to forge links between local businesses and schools. As a governor, you can support schools by ensuring careers education remains high on the agenda. Knowledge of the local labour market and sources of support that schools can access, is a great first step in promoting this important area of school life.  

Why is having business knowledge on a board useful? 

Knowledge of business is not necessarily expected on a board, but it can provide benefits. Having business links on a board can increase school engagement and networking in their local area which has historically been a challenge for some schools. Governors with connections to industry can empower schools when it comes to engaging in career-related learning, by having someone with experience of industry that they can consult or share ideas with. 

Volunteering as a school governor gives you a chance to learn what challenges young people are experiencing. By combining insight of industry, with the knowledge of what young people are facing, governors with business knowledge are in a good position to provide strategic support to schools when looking to develop their careers education. 

Everyone’s motivations for becoming a governor differ, but wanting to improve outcomes for children locally is common. If you are someone with business connections, you could make a difference to pupils at a school near you. Jessica, a governor from Manchester relates well to this motivation. 

A lot of the young people I meet don’t have the natural networks many children of professionals do – they have to make their own. Businesses have a role to play in helping them access ideas, opportunities, and jobs. I think we have an obligation to the communities we live and work in to provide that.

Jessica, Manchester 

4 ways that governors can develop links between school and the world of work 

Developing links between schools and the world of work can take time, but the results are worthwhile and can inspire the next generation to engage in careers that they feel empowered and knowledgeable about. As a governor, you hold a unique position within a school, and focus on the below areas can help to ensure that careers education at your school is robust. 

  • 1. Ask questions 

Asking questions is vital for governors. Not only does it help you understand where the school is at currently, but it helps school leaders to reflect upon their decisions, policies and practices. Is the school confident in their carer offering? Do they know who could support them with careers workshops, experiences or fairs? Do they have links with employers? If not, signposting our resources for schools may be supportive. 

  • 2. Share your experience 

Having a person on a board who is comfortable with industry language, culture and networks can support schools to elevate their engagement with the business community. If you have that knowledge and experience – share it with the school leadership team to help them build an informed, strong career offering. 

  • 3. Know your local community 

What support is on offer in your local area? Do you have a business hub or any local networks that offer support to schools? If you would like to enhance your knowledge of the types of careers support on offer to schools, our resources for schools section may prove useful. It is full of links to organisations that offer careers support and resources for schools. 

  • 4. Consider becoming a Link Governor for careers  

A Link Governor will work closely with the school Career Lead, to ensure the school has a robust careers provision in place. As part of the ‘All pupils, every ambition’ campaign, we have created Link Governor role descriptions for both Primary and Secondary settings that you can review. Becoming a Link Governor is a great way to ensure a strong, monitored careers education is on offer at your school. 


How can I find out more? 

Not yet a governor? 

You can help young people in your community to succeed by volunteering as a school governor. We’ll support you so you’re equipped to make a difference. Join one of our free introduction to governance webinars to find out more. Our next information session is on Tuesday 22nd February at 2:30pm 

Already a governor? 

Join our free ‘All pupils, every ambition’ webinar on Tuesday 1st March at 1:00pm to find out more about career engagement opportunities on offer to schools. This session is ideal for current governors and will showcase examples of best practice from the sector and further sources of support for schools. 

This article, as with all of this term’s campaign materials, was made possible through the support of Allen & Overy.