Pupils inspired to Be the Change

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Year 9 students learnt how to be role models for younger students as part of a programme to improve young people’s confidence and life chances.

Students, aged between 13 and 14, are taking part in the inspirational Be the Change programme, which is happening for the third year in Gatwick and Crawley.

Steeping Up conference. Photo courtesy of Southern News and Pictures Ltd

Steeping Up conference. Photo courtesy of Southern News and Pictures Ltd

The aim of the conference, at the Charis Centre on January 11, was to help the young people to develop life skills. The students were encouraged to become positive role models and were taught that by working together they can have a positive influence and impact in their respective schools and communities.

The Year 9 students were joined by local primary school students for them to mentor.

Organised by LoveLocalJobs.com in partnership with Graham Moore of metamoorephosis, the programme has more than 40 volunteers from local businesses and the public sector acting as business guides helping young people fulfil their potential and improve their life chances.

Be the Change focuses on happiness, confidence, hope, relationships and employability by identifying and removing barriers to success, encouraging self-belief and raising aspirations.

Over the course of the school year the students work with the business volunteers at inspirational conferences, one- to-one mentoring sessions and workplace visits. This year’s programme would not be possible without support from this year’s sponsors: First Central (headline sponsor), B&CE, Crawley Borough Council, L3 Commercial Aviation, NatWest, SHW, Search Consultancy and the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust.

Graham, who expertly led the delivery on the day 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 positive 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 younger 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 this year’s programme are: Ifield Community College, Hazelwick School, Holy Trinity Church of England Secondary School, Oriel High School, St Wilfrid’s Catholic School and Thomas Bennett Community College. Year 5 and 6 primary school students took part in the Stepping Up activity from Waterfield Primary School.

Ross Thornton, Careers Advisor, Oriel High School, said: “Today’s event was so inspiring. You can genuinely see the positive changes that the students have made since the launch. The students really benefit from and thrive from the interactions. This is such a valuable programme for the students and the school.”

Andy James, Chief Commercial Officer from headline sponsor First Central, said: ‘‘We’re delighted to be involved in the Be The Change programme helping young people in our community and equipping them with the tools and confidence to help prepare them for the future. Our team of business volunteers are hoping they can make a real difference.”

Siobhan Melia, Chief Executive at Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We pride ourselves on playing an active role in the communities we serve. The Be the Change programme is a fantastic way of helping local children and young people to get the most out of their education and show them the sorts of careers that the NHS can offer.

“The programme has given our staff a brilliant opportunity to support and mentor others at the same time as helping them to grow.”

Photos courtesy of Southern News and Pictures Ltd

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