Supporting our community and the workforce of the future


Here at Shields, we believe in empowering the next generation of the workforce by building skills which will last a lifetime. Find out how our HR team are working towards this in local schools, through our Speakers for Schools partnership.


At Shields, we have a foundation of investing in talent and supporting existing employees to develop and fulfil their career aspirations. This strategy has not only served to build a thriving business but has also resulted in some very long and happy professional partnerships.

In addition to nurturing our existing talent, Shields understands the importance of looking to the future. As such, we have teamed up with the educational inequality charity Speakers for Schools, to support the talent of tomorrow. Speakers for Schools aims to provide all young people access to the prestigious networks made available to attendees of fee-paying schools in the UK to help bridge the gap. Decreasing the statistical likelihood of school leavers becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training) and limiting their talent pipelines.

“Speakers for Schools is an amazing charity,” says George Stone, our Director of HR. “Through this collaboration, we’ve been able to reach out to several schools in Essex & Surrey and arrange employability workshops for students aged 15-18. I believe there is a gap between education and employment that students can struggle with. The guidance is not always available – so partnering with this charity, to provide more insight and practical advice feels like it can really make a difference.”

“At Shields, we are passionate about creating a culture of open communication and we’re bringing this ethos to the workshops. As well as offering the participants insights into the world of work, including how to actually build a CV as a teenager with no experience, and how to demonstrate individuality in their applications – this also gives a great insight into the younger generations that could one day be working for our business. We thoroughly enjoyed opening dialogues with the next generation of the workforce and building connections with talented young individuals.”

After our HR team visited Brentwood Ursuline Convent High students were asked how they found the session. One student said, “I really enjoyed George and Michael’s talk it was highly interesting, and I feel more catered to what I am looking for as it will help me beyond sixth form.” Another said, “I enjoyed learning about how to construct a CV as it was useful, and I had no clue on how to do it.”

When asked if they found the session helpful one student explained. “Definitely… I took plenty of notes and will definitely use them.” Followed by their classmate who said, “George and Michael’s talk, as it was very informative.” Finally, another student expressed, “I loved the information about the CV and how to structure them.”

Following the success of the initial workshops, Shields will be running five further sessions in the first half of 2023. “The reception from the students has been very positive so far, and we’re delighted to be working with Speakers for Schools again next year,” says Michael Long, our People & Development Manager. “It’s been a real privilege to spend time face-to-face with such inspiring and engaged young people, and we’re thrilled to be able to help them prepare for life after school and support their ambitions for the future.”

Speakers for Schools announced that together our workshops have reached 430 students in 2022 and here at Shields we’re excited to continue to reach more local students throughout 2023. Shields’ social policy is not only concerned with the positive impact that the business has on our internal workforce but also on the broader community. By reaching out to schools in the surrounding area, it has been possible for us to build new relationships and support local education. These workshops are also closely connected to Shields’ ESG strategy but most importantly our local community.

To find out more about our work in our local communities with Speakers for Schools, contact HR Director George Stone at [email protected].