Boosting young people’s confidence and prospects

Pictures courtesy of Southern News and Pictures
Pictures courtesy of Southern News and Pictures

A programme to help and inspire local young people fulfil their potential and improve their life chances was launched, with more than 120 students from all seven Crawley secondary schools at the Arora Hotel on Friday.

Now in its second year, the Be the Change programme was developed by and co-founder Graham Moore, to help 13 and 14 year-olds negotiate the gap between education and employment.

Volunteer guides from local businesses - the list includes Arora Hotel, B&CE, Crawley Borough Council, Gatwick Airport (headline sponsor), Hilton Hotel Gatwick, NatWest, and Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust - give guidance, support and advice to the students.

Students and business volunteers at the launch took part in activities that focus on happiness, confidence, hope, relationships and employability. Former teacher Graham Moore led the activities. He 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. Be the Change is a perfect vehicle to help young people develop the qualities and qualifications they need for a better future.”

The idea for Be the Change came from founder Gary Peters. Gary said: “Year 9 is when young people make decisions that will affect the rest of their lives – from where they fit within their peer groups, to what subjects they will study for their GCSEs. Our job is to help them recognise and build on their strengths and to give them the tools, knowledge and confidence to make the right decisions.” head of community engagement Rosanna Farrar said: “We have once again been overwhelmed by the support of the business community and enthusiasm of the volunteer business mentors. Be the Change is providing is an opportunity for businesses to engage with their future workforce and build awareness of their employer brand amongst local young people so that they have a far clearer view of the local opportunities available to them.”

The schools involved are: Ifield Community College, Hazelwick School, Holy Trinity Church of England Secondary School, St Wilfrid’s Catholic School, The Gatwick School, Oriel High School and Thomas Bennett Community College.

Emlyn Hall, Deputy Head of The Gatwick School said: “This is the first year we have attended Be the Change and we will certainly be back. The students have loved every minute of it. They have been challenged, taken out of their comfort zone but above all have been valued and listened to.”

Gatwick Community Engagement Manager, Paula Aldridge said: “Gatwick is pleased, once again, to be a sponsor of the Be the Change programme in Crawley and to be the headline sponsor for 2017/18. Ten Gatwick employees from across the airport will be mentors throughout the programme and will be encouraging the students to make long term changes to aid them in the future. Our objective is to inform, inspire and invest in the next generation of young people about the wide range of STEM skills at the airport and inspire them to choose STEM subjects – helping to build a pipeline of talent for the future.”


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