Students from secondary schools in Coastal West Sussex learnt how to be role models for younger children at an event on Thursday, April 14 at the University of Chichester.
Some 70 students aged 13-14 from nine local secondary schools were joined by children from West Wittering Primary school as part of the inspirational Be the Change programme.
Facilitated by LoveLocalJobs.com and social enterprise humanutopia, along with mentors from local businesses, education and the public sector, Be the Change helps young people to fulfill their potential and improve their life chances. It focuses on happiness, confidence, hope, relationships and employability by identifying and removing barriers to success and raising aspirations. Over the course of the school year the students have six opportunities to work with business volunteers at day long events, one-to-one mentoring sessions and workplace visits.
Humanutopia’s founders, Carlo Missirian and Graham Moore, both former teachers who understand the challenges facing young people today, led the hero training event. They said: “Our vision is for every young person to have raised hope and confidence, to have the chance to develop life skills and create positive cycles that will prepare them for life.
“Working with the younger children brings out the “hero” or role model in our students. It promotes qualities such as leadership, team working and a sense of responsibility to those around them, especially younger and more vulnerable people. This activity also offers a great chance for the 10 and 11 year old primary students to develop their confidence and experience of being around secondary school students in preparation for moving into higher education.”
The secondary schools involved in the programme are Bourne Community College, Southbourne;
Davison Church of England High School for Girls, Worthing; Durrington High School; Felpham Community College; Midhurst Rother College; Steyning Grammar School; The Angmering School; The Academy, Selsey and Chatsmore Catholic High School, Goring-by-Sea.
Gavin Bowles, Careers Manager at The Angmering School, said: “We feel very fortunate that a number of our more vulnerable students in Year 9 have been given the opportunity to experience Be The Change. On each occasion that students have attended contact days they have been warmly greeted and treated with a great deal of respect which they may not always receive in a school environment.
“The students speak very highly of the people they have met and appreciate the opportunity to share experiences with both employers and their own peers. Students have told me that they feel listened to and valued for who they are. Be The Change has proved to be very positive for the students at The Angmering School and we look forward to more of the same in the future”, said Mr Bowles.
The idea for Be the Change came from Gary Peters, Founder of LoveLocalJobs.com. He said: “We believe that ‘Be the Change’ has the power to dramatically improve lives. David Cameron said earlier this year that there are around 25,000 pupils about to start their GCSEs who are at-risk of under-achieving or dropping out and that he wants businesses to mentor at-risk teenagers. Well, this is exactly what we are doing right here in Sussex in collaboration with local employers, universities and local authorities.”
There are three separate programmes taking place across East and West Sussex. Be the Change Coastal West Sussex is a collaboration between LoveLocalJobs.com and humanutopia, supported by Sussex Learning Network, University of Chichester, Heart FM, West Sussex County Council, Coast to Capital LEP and The Careers & Enterprise Company.
Sarah Williams, Director of Sussex Learning Network, said: “The Sussex Learning Network is delighted to be sponsoring the Be the Change programme right across Sussex this year – it’s providing a fantastic opportunity for our educational partners to engage with young people in a really innovative and inspiring way, and we hope to be able to continue to support the programme for years to come.”
Claudia Harris, CEO of The Careers & Enterprise Company, commented: “The Hero Training event builds on the work carried out so far with the Be the Change programme and has given all the students a real opportunity to learn some important life skills. Thanks to the commitment of the local business community we are extending the careers and enterprise provision for young people and ensuring every young person in England has access to encounters with businesses and the support needed to fulfil their potential.”
Coastal West Sussex Hero Training 1: Students from West Sussex schools at the ‘Be the Change’ Hero Training day
Coastal West Sussex Hero Training 2: L-R Humanutopia’s Graham Moore with Laurence from West Wittering Primary School and Freddie from Felpham Community College at the ‘Be the Change’ Hero Training Day
Coastal West Sussex Hero Training 3: Primary and Secondary school students from West Sussex schools at the ‘Be the Change’ Hero Training day
LovelocalJobs.com is a family of jobs boards that works in partnership with businesses, local authorities, universities, colleges, schools, charities and community groups in cities, towns and districts across Sussex and the south east. It comprises six regional jobs boards: BrightonandHoveJobs.com, 1066Jobs.com, GatwickDiamondJobs.com, CoastalWestSussexJobs.com, LoveEastbourneJobs.com and LoveCroydonJobs.com. As well as these jobs boards we have a further four careers advice and guidance sites, which have been designed by young people for young people with the help and support of local business mentors.
Humanutopia is a social business that creates and runs inspirational courses in schools for students and staff. Their courses are based on personal, social and workplace skills development, and improve the hope, confidence, happiness, relationships, and employability of participating students. Over the last 11 years humanutopia have worked with over 200,000 young people, 200 schools, 25,000 adults and 20,000 heroes.