Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation

Publication Date



School business connections, Partnerships, Business-School Connections Roundtable, NAB Schools First Awards, Tender Bridge, Work experience


Prepared by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) for the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.


In January 2011, the Australian Council for Educational Research was contracted by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) to collate information gleaned from a range of sources and prepare a report that made clear the benefits associated with stronger relationships between schools and businesses. ACER was also asked to assess the existing evidence base in an Australian context and identify ways in which this could be strengthened. Given the complex demands faced by schools in the twenty-first century, and the limited nature of the resources available to meet these demands, schools and governments are increasingly looking to external partners to support their needs. There has been a shift at the policy level globally towards more inclusive, collaborative and holistic ways of working. As in the area of health, in education there is ‘a growing recognition of the need to help schools cope with the complex challenges they face’. ‘Schools can’t do it alone’; they are increasingly looking to communities to help build capacity and improve educational outcomes (Berg, Melaville & Blank, 2006). In the United Kingdom, the National Council for Educational Excellence has recommended that employers support the delivery of a new National Framework for business education partnerships ‘so that, by 2010, every school and college should have effective relationships with business’. In late 2010, the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development launched the Business Working with Education Foundation, which is intended to foster business and school partnerships. The establishment of the Business-School Connections Roundtable by the Commonwealth Government is further evidence of high level commitment to facilitating greater business involvement in education. This report examines the evidence that supports the case for increased school–business connections; the range of benefits for young people, teachers, school communities and business from these connections; and the strengths of, and areas for improvement in, current and emerging research in this area in an Australian context. The report is based on a brief overview of the international and national literature since 2007, interviews with members of the National Framework and Guiding Principles Working Group established by the Business-School Connections Roundtable, and a selection of case studies. The case studies include interviews with business representatives and information gathered by email from overseas school and business partners.

Case Studies are from Brisbane State High School (QLD); Gymea Technology High School (NSW); Windsor Gardens Vocational College (SA); Hunter Water Corporation; The Hawaiian Alive Program (WA); Landcare Australia; Time to Read; IBM’s KidSmart Early Learning Program; Linking Work With Learning; Gregg’s Breakfast

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Place of Publication

Camberwell, Victoria


Australian Council for Educational Research