UK: Ten Years Of Partnering With Teach First

Last Updated: 6 January 2014
Article by Julie Mercer

Not long after Brett Wigdortz established Teach First, Deloitte engaged in doing what we do best.  We used our skills and capabilities to support the organisation's growth and established a relationship that is now over 10 years old and which in my view sets the standard for the many charity partners we have established since. 

In the early days we provided accountancy support to help get the charity up and running and one of our audit partners, Sarah Shillingford, remains a Trustee today.  Our initial relationship was through graduate recruitment and we worked with Teach First to interview potential graduates who would teach for two years and then join Deloitte's graduate programme.  Over time the relationship has grown and evolved. 

As the education account within our firm grew and established itself with our clients as a trusted business partner, Teach First Ambassadors (as their alumni are known) started to join to Deloitte in increasing numbers.  The relationship between Deloitte and Teach First moved away from one owned by graduate recruitment to being owned by the Ambassador community themselves.  It was their relentless energy and passion to support young people from disadvantaged communities to excel academically and go to university that cemented the relationship between Deloitte and Teach First.  Our Ambassadors led the charge, supporting young people to realise their ambition, get great grades and reach for the stars.  They worked tirelessly in their own time and at weekends, supporting the young people through sixth form and on to study at our top universities – no mean feat when you attend a school where learning is not considered cool. 

Since then we have received Teach First's Partner Award and have helped them to reshape their business.  We have worked with them on a series of thought leadership reports, developed their strategy for 2020 and thought about how they can drive systemic change through the education system.  We have also helped them to think about how they can get more value out of their partnerships with corporates at a time when businesses are less able to support charities in a purely financial way.  It was this work that laid the bedrock for the Deloitte Access Programme which we have just launched.

The Access Programme has identified 11 Teach First schools and paired them with Deloitte Partners and Directors who will own the relationship with the school, supported by a team of Deloitte volunteers across all grades.  We have worked with the schools and Teach First to develop a menu of support we can provide to support the pupils, the teachers and the school operations.  Since we announced the programme internally in October some 500 staff have expressed an interest in getting involved and we have a network of over 220 mentors trained, supporting over 300 students.

In December last year I attended a Roundtable event with Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, where I formally launched the Access programme to the public. 

At Deloitte we have proud history of supporting young people through our CR programmes.  This new programme provides us with the opportunity for our people to build new skills and work with young people with so much untapped potential.  For those young people, the Access Programme provides the route map they need to navigate their way through their education and into professional jobs, literally changing their lives.  And for Deloitte and our clients we hope that through the Access Programme, young people from a diverse range of backgrounds will join the profession and build an industry that truly reflects the diversity of our client base. 

Today we have over 30 Teach First Ambassadors working across the firm.  At the start of another new year I look forward to welcoming the next generation of young people who join Deloitte thanks to the Access Programme. 

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