In this interview we learn about the power that partnering with business can bring to the education sector. Geoff Roberts is a partnership broker with Sydney Business Education Partnerships and his input has been instrumental in the formation of the Forming Effective Partnerships workshop program that I rolled out earlier this year.
Geoff delivers insight and allows us to observe the dynamics at play in the partnering process, especially from the perspective of our high schools.
What does Sydney Business Education Partnerships do?
We identify, develop and help construct partnerships spanning the education, corporate and community sectors. Our footprint is defined by the geographical area of Sydney’s CBD, the Eastern Suburbs, South Sydney and the Inner West.
There is a range of equivalent organisations that collectively perform this role across the whole of Australia. They may be stand-alone entities like ours, or part of larger community services groups.
What is your role in the partnering process?
It is primarily a facilitation role that includes elements of consulting, relationship development, knowledge sharing, capacity building and skill development.
For example, we recently started working with a local high school in a consulting capacity, helping them to identify what strategic partnerships may look and feel like. This included discussions about best practice methodologies.
One of our challenges is to integrate partnering ideas into the school planning process, linking the school’s broader goals with strategies and outcomes.
How good are your clients at constructing partnerships?
They are generally very capable, however there are some gaps that need to be assessed and sharpened up. I find that the raw ingredients are usually good, but one area that needs constant attention is appreciating and understanding the perspectives of other stakeholders in the partnership process.