In November 2020, we expanded our governor placement service into Wales to match skilled and committed people with vacancies on governing boards. Less than 6 months later, we’re already seeing the scope for the impact that service can have.
We placed our first volunteer on a school board in Wales within two months of launching into the country. Since January, 15 Governors for Schools volunteers have been appointed as governors to support schools in Wales, including recruits from corporate partners Deloitte and Sainsbury’s. As the only service of its kind in Wales, and with over 1000 governor vacancies in the country, the response from schools and local authorities has been overwhelmingly positive. Over 250 vacancies have been registered across 13 local authority areas across the country.
Our established partnerships with Swansea University, Cardiff University, and University of South Wales have set us up for more success in placing skilled people on governing boards over the coming months. Governors play a big role in how schools are run, and effective governance translates into better pupil outcomes. Loren Nadin, Governors for Schools Partnership Manager, Wales, said “With over 1,000 governor vacancies across Wales, there is a huge scope for us to make an impact on the governance of educational establishments and the skills available to businesses.”
Our expansion into Wales comes at a time when businesses in the country are turning their attention to skills development as a key opportunity for recovery. The most recent ‘Quarterly Economic Survey’ conducted by Chambers Wales and the British Chambers of Commerce, reaching approximately 80% of businesses in Wales, showed that 46% of Welsh businesses said that they experienced difficulties recruiting for Professional and Managerial roles over the last 3 months. A further 62% reported that they felt that skills development is an internal opportunity to help their business recover from the pandemic.
We have a number of partnerships with organisations in England, including Barclays, KPMG, and Allen & Overy, and we’re delighted to be able to offer our services to employees based in Wales. While schools benefit from having high-calibre people on their boards, those volunteering do too. Governors are able to bring the skills they’ve developed in their role back to the workplace, aiding professional development.
Governors for Schools has partnered with Chambers Wales to bring this opportunity to businesses working in Wales. Nina Slevin, Chambers Wales Director of Partnerships, said: “We are delighted to be able to partner with Governors for Schools and offer opportunities to Welsh business to upskill and empower their teams. As businesses look towards recovery and rebuilding after a challenging year, this is a unique opportunity for businesses and employees to make a difference to the education of our future workforce, while growing their own leadership and management skills.”
Chambers Wales reported in their 2021 Q1 ‘Quarterly Economic Survey’ that over the last 3 months, only 20.18% of businesses have increased their investment plans in training while 67.89% of businesses have kept the same level of investment in this area. Investing in school governance is an opportunity for businesses to develop their staff while contributing to the local community and helping more children and young people receive the education they deserve.
We’re encouraging our current partners to capitalise on this opportunity to improve education for more children in the UK, by promoting the benefits of governance to their Welsh offices. Schools need people with a variety of skills on their boards to create a diverse board, which in turns leads to more effective governance. There’s no one type of governor – boards need people from all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds, to provide more than one perspective and ensure decisions are robust. We’re hopeful that our work in Wales, supported by Chambers Wales, will make this a reality for more schools across the country.