Business advisers go back to the classroom to inspire the next generation

10 July 2018

Staff from professional services firm Grant Thornton went back to the classroom to help encourage the entrepreneurs of the future.

Fifteen staff from the company’s Leeds office spent a day at Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School running workshops for more than 120 Year 7 pupils, as part of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership’s (The LEP) Enterprise Adviser Network programme.

During the day the Year 7 pupils had to pitch a micro-business idea to a panel from Grant Thornton, with the winning team given a £50 seed-fund to launch their business and any profits being invested in an entrepreneur in the developing world. The winners, Tote-ally Awesome, were a group who made customised canvas bags as a way of reducing plastic bag use.

The LEP’s Enterprise Adviser Network, working in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, has been running since 2015 and sees senior business leaders link up with schools to develop careers and enterprise plans that embed entrepreneurial skills in the classroom to inspire pupils. Enterprise Advisers are now working with over 160 schools across Leeds City Region, with 32,000 new activities delivered to students last year.

The programme meets the Government’s ambition that every young person has around one encounter each year they are in education (Department for Education’s Careers Strategy, December 2017) and around one in every 20 employees in the country volunteer to this kind of activity.

Research by Education and Employers Taskforce shows that young people who regularly meet business people are much more likely to be in work and will earn, on average, 16% more than those who do not. These increased interactions safeguard the skills pipeline of the economy and in turn support the future workforce in the City Region.

Richelle Schuster of Grant Thornton, who works with Cardinal Heenan as an Enterprise Adviser, said:

“Encouraging young people to be entrepreneurs is not just a job for teachers and parents, employers can really add value too by working together and helping to influence and shape young people’s experiences. By doing this we are assisting young people to build the skills needed for a vibrant economy in the future.

“We were really impressed by the students’ hard work, ingenuity and motivation. We also liked that they could see that business is not just about profit, but also about having a purpose and a positive impact on your community locally and globally.”

Roger Marsh, OBE, Chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, said:

“It is fantastic to see staff from Grant Thornton taking part in our Enterprise Adviser Network. This activity helps to guarantee that our school leavers have the right mix of skills needed by employers and are ready to join the workforce. In turn this ensures that the Leeds City Region remains a competitive location for talent when compared national and internationally.

“For the staff at Grant Thornton, giving as little as a few hours of their time a year spent going into schools and giving inspiring talks, mentoring young people and running these workshops, can make a huge difference to the employment prospects of young people in the City Region.”

Rosie Evans, Achievement Champion at Cardinal Heenan, said:

“Working with companies like Grant Thornton is invaluable for schools. The Enterprise Advisor scheme has helped our Year 7 students to develop a number of critical skills essential for the workplace and the encouragement to progress with their education.”

The Enterprise Adviser Network forms part of the LEP’s ambition to improve the relevance of learning to the economy through building skills in education.

Notes to editors

Photograph shows the Grant Thornton team.

  • The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) works in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to help businesses in our region grow and become more productive.

  • The Combined Authority works in partnership with local councils and businesses to ensure that everyone in our region benefits from a strong, successful economy and a modern, accessible transport network. By championing the region’s interests nationally and internationally, we secure the investment to deliver better transport and housing, help businesses to grow and create jobs. 

  • We want our region to be recognised globally as a strong, successful economy where everyone can build great businesses, careers and lives.

  • For more information visit

Enterprise Adviser Network

The Leeds City Region’s Enterprise Adviser Network is a flagship programme for businesses and employers to link with schools in our region. It is an opportunity for employers to meet their future workforce, develop links with their local secondary school and influence the local skills agenda. It has additional benefits for businesses with many reporting increased motivation of their employees through engagement with young people as well as an insight to the consumers of the future.

The Enterprise Adviser network is working with over 160 schools and there are 160 Enterprise Advisers engaged in the programme. Last year over 32,000 new activities were created for young people in our region with businesses in our region.

Businesses/employers apply by completing the form at or contacting

This press release was prepared by Capital B Media, a public relations and media training agency based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. For more information, please visit


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