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New Work Awareness Programme creates a Virtual Buzz for Cumbrian Students

Netherhall School students

Sixteen businesses and organisations collaborated with Centre for Leadership Performance (CfLP) to support students from Netherhall School and Cockermouth School in their work experience week. Both schools took part in the programme to develop, design, cost and market a virtual mobile ‘Escape Room’, and then pitch it to Lakes Escapes – their client.

The students were tasked with completing all aspects of the multi-disciplinary project. It provided an excellent opportunity for the students to develop the essential leadership, project management, teamwork, communication and organisation skills necessary for future application in the workplace. It also helped them to understand the breadth of organisations involved in West Cumbria’s supply chain.

The opportunity for companies to get involved in programmes like this means micro-business and SMEs as well as large organisations can engage and help shape the future aspirations of young people in West Cumbria. Some typical work experience programmes (where it is sometimes necessary for a business to commit to a week’s placement) can be a barrier for smaller, innovative organisations within the Nuclear Supply Chain.

The students were based at National College for Nuclear and given access to their world-class VR facilities and teaching support.  They worked with a range of experts from local business who added real world experience to the process, and encouraged students to think further about which elements engaged them most and might shape their future ambitions.

Cockermouth School students

Poppy Watson from Cockermouth School was inspired to think about next steps in work experience through CfLP programmes, and said “I really appreciated all the input from the organisations. I will be looking out for the dream placement programme next.”

A team from CfLP worked with the students throughout the week and helped them to make the most of the amazing learning opportunities presented.

Sarah Glass, Executive Director of CfLP,  said that co-creating work awareness programmes for year 10 students such as Elements and now ProjX is important in developing leaders for tomorrow. It gives an insight into key individual skills and teamwork needed to make a complex project successful, and is another great opportunity to gain work awareness before considering year 12 and 13 programmes such as Dream Placement. She is delighted that businesses are keen to see the ProjX programme continue.

Craig Hatch, Group Managing Director of WYG Group commented “It was great for WYG to be part of ProjX 2019.  We were pleased to be able to contribute to enabling an opportunity for such a bright cohort of students to learn and develop their ideas in a structured format alongside some great partners.  I am sure that following this pilot, ProjX will become a staple in the schools experience programmes in west Cumbria.”

Richard Askew, Partner in Armstrong Watson added “Supporting our local secondary schools with projects like this is a key part of making sure our students of today are work ready when they become our employees and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”

Carol Watson, Director of Lakes Escapes said “It takes months to come up with a game so what the students created in a week was very exciting to watch. Each one played a part in the project process, and to watch them grow as the week went on made us proud to be involved.”

Certificates were issued to the students, as well as to all the businesses and organisations who supported them. A collaborative programme that has resulted in very positive feedback in its first year.

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