Sheffield Hallam has signed become the first University in the UK to sign the School Governor Champion charter, pledging to encourage and support staff to be governors in local schools.

This 5-step charter has been developed by Inspiring Governance, a national school governor recruitment service, as a call to action for employers across the country to sign and act as an advocate for school governance opportunities.

The Inspiring Governance service is based around an online platform connecting volunteers, especially those with business-related skill, from a range of diverse backgrounds, to schools and colleges seeking to fill governor and trustee vacancies.

As a University and a key employer in the region, Sheffield Hallam has been working with the service for almost two years, encouraging staff to participate. As well as implementing a governor’s network to bring together staff across the university who volunteer as governors and allowing staff flexible time away from work to undertake volunteering opportunities.

Taking the role one step further, South Yorkshire Futures, the University’s social mobility partnership, is championing school governor opportunities to employers in the region as part of its Talent Bank project.

The South Yorkshire Talent Bank offers a range of opportunities for businesses and employees to volunteer their time, skills and experience to inform, support and inspire young people from across the region.

Sally Jackson, Chief People Officer at Sheffield Hallam University said: “I am delighted to have signed the School Governor Champion charter on behalf of Sheffield Hallam, pledging our allegiance and support to a fantastic initiative that will benefit young people, employers and volunteers.

“As a University, we have a civic responsibility to recognise the benefits of volunteering, in both a professional and a personal sense, and promote these opportunities as widely as we can – internally, but across the region as well.”

Richard Ellam, regional manager for Inspiring Governance, said: “Our aim is to encourage as many employers as possible to become School Governor Champions, because we see employers supporting their staff to become school governors as a win-win situation.

We hope that Sheffield Hallam University signing this charter will encourage others across South Yorkshire and the higher education sector, to do the same.”