thebigword has been shortlisted as a finalist in the inaugural Investors in People Awards ‘Best School and Business Partnership’ category, thanks to its work with Roundhay School, Leeds, through the Ahead Partnership’s ‘Make the Grade’ programme. The Awards, which received more than 500 entries from all over the UK and different sectors, will celebrate the best people management practices amongst Investors in People accredited businesses.   thebigword was one of the first 20 companies in the UK to achieve the Investors in People standard. It is one of the longest holders of IIP in the UK and was the first business to get this recognition in the languages sector.

As part of its work with Ahead Partnership – a social enterprise that works with the public and private sectors to foster social and economic regeneration – thebigword has been sending volunteer mentors to Roundhay School to help Year 9 and 10 children fulfil their potential and raise awareness of opportunities and future choices.   thebigword’s mentors have helped the children with interview skills, and have held careers talks at the school. Roundhay School pupils have also visited thebigword’s global headquarters in Leeds, where they were encouraged to consider careers in languages and given Japanese language and origami lessons.

Karen Milner, HR Director for thebigword, said: “This is the first year of the three-year programme we’ve signed up to with the school, and we hope it continues well beyond that because it has been so successful and rewarding. Activities like these really bind our staff to thebigword because we demonstrate investment in them and give them the paid time-off work that enables them to give something back to the communities they grew up in.”

The Best School and Business Partnership category recognises best practice and innovation in establishing a strong partnership between a school and employer, and a strong creative approach which brings tangible benefits to both parties. Paul Devoy, Head of Investors in People, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the number and calibre of entries received for the inaugural Investors in People Awards. It’s fantastic to see so many organisations nominated, demonstrating great people management practice and a commitment to staff development. thebigword and Roundhay School should be extremely proud.”   Investors in People is the UK’s leading accreditation for business improvement through people management, and provides a wealth of resources for businesses to innovate, improve and grow, with a focus on good people making great business.