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The achievements of 70 students from Hastings and Rother schools were commended at an awards ceremony on Wednesday, July 13 at the University of Brighton’s Hastings campus.

The event was the grand finale to the ‘Be the Change’ programme, an initiative to boost the aspirations and job prospects of young people aged between 13 and 14. Over the last four months the students have been taking part in a series of activities designed to improve hope, happiness, confidence, relationships, to change negative behaviour and to introduce them to job and career opportunities.

The students were congratulated and awarded certificates by their business mentors who had been working with them throughout the programme, on both an individual and group basis, supported by Carlo Missirian and Graham Moore, founders of humanutopia.

Carlo said: “It has been an incredible journey not just for these brave young people, but for everyone who has been involved – the teachers, the business volunteers and ourselves.  Over the last few months we have been inspired by the way in which the students have engaged with us and their peers and as a result have become happier, more confident of their abilities and excited about their futures. We have thoroughly enjoyed working in partnership with LoveLocalJobs to create the powerful ‘Be The Change’ programme’.”

The students come from six secondary schools in the area: ARK Helenswood Academy, ARK William Parker Academy, Robertsbridge Community College, Rye College, St Richard’s Catholic College and The St Leonards Academy.

Gary Peters, MD of LoveLocalJobs.com and co-founder of ‘Be the Change’ said: “It’s a harsh world out there for young people and many of the students on ‘Be the Change’ have already had to face challenges that most of us couldn’t imagine.  Our aim is to help them to value both themselves and other people and to develop skills which will enable them to take responsibility for their lives and ambitions.” 

A student from St Leonards Academy who took part in the programme said:  “I just really want to say thank you because now I can safely say ‘I can do it!’.  I’ve valued this experience more than anyone understands.  This has been a massive turning point in my life, so thank you.”

‘Be the Change’ Hastings is a collaboration between LoveLocalJobs.com and social enterprise humanutopia with support from Hastings Borough Council, Sussex Learning Network, University of Brighton, Heart FM and local businesses. In addition, volunteers from 12 local businesses have provided mentoring and opportunities for work place visits to the young people.

Sarah Williams, Director of Sussex Learning Network, said: “‘Be the Change’ is a really innovative way to inspire and support vulnerable young people to be the best they can be and I have no doubt that for most of the students, this experience has been life changing.  Sussex Learning Network is delighted to have sponsored ‘Be the Change’ and we hope to be able to continue to support the programme for years to come.”

 

Students from secondary schools in Hastings and Rother learnt how to be role models for younger students at an event on Wednesday, May 4, at the Hastings Centre.

Some 80 students aged 13-14 from local secondary schools were joined by 10 and 11 year olds from Hollington Primary Academy, The Baird Primary Academy and ARK Little Ridge, 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 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 olds to develop their confidence and experience of being around secondary school students in preparation for moving into higher education.”

Jane Cotman, Year 5 teacher from ARK Little Ridge Primary School, commented: “It was a fantastic afternoon for our year 5s! They really enjoyed the activities, particularly the opportunity to speak out about their feelings using the microphone.”

The secondary schools involved in the programme are ARK Helenswood Academy, ARK William Parker Academy, Robertsbridge Community College, Rye College, St Richard’s Catholic College and The St Leonards Academy.

Shelley Clark is the Behaviour Systems Manager at Rye College. She said: “What an impactful day! It was lovely to see the changes in all the students in such a short space of time. This has been a great programme so far and I hope it has the opportunity to continue and grow.” 

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 Hastings is a collaboration between LoveLocalJobs.com and social enterprise humanutopia with support from Hastings Borough Council, Sussex Learning Network, University of Brighton, Heart FM and local businesses.

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.”

Cllr Dawn Poole, Hasting Borough Council’s Lead Member for Regeneration, added: “We are very pleased to support Be the Change. Providing opportunities and enabling young people to develop skills and qualifications they need for better futures is imperative. We look forward to the future success of the scheme and to see aspirations raised in the young people of Hastings”.

Students from Robertsbridge Community College were crowned Hastings and Rother Best Company at the Young Enterprise Company Programme Hastings and Rother Finals.

The team then represented the county at the Company Programme Sussex Final in East Grinstead. Best Company 3

The students’ company, Siren Designs sold and manufactured tie dye cloth bags. The team beat off stiff competition from 6 other teams to be the overall winners.

Young Enterprise’s Company Programme is supported by HSBC and is aimed at 15 to 19 year olds. Participants set up and run businesses for an academic year, guided by local mentors.

Wendy Gorham, YE Manager for East Sussex and Brighton and Hove said: “We had some great companies started up by students this year and the judges were incredibly impressed with the products and services they had developed and the presentations they gave at the Awards.

“The Awards highlighted how the Young Enterprise Company Programme can inspire young people to become the entrepreneurs of tomorrow and help them develop practical business skills while they are still at school.

“I particularly want to congratulate the students from Robertsbridge Community College who won Best Company, for Hastings and Rother for their superb presentation, commitment and professionalism. Siren Designs also won the Best branding, Best Governance, Best trade stand and best presentation awards.

One of the new sponsors this year were Osbornes and Nick Sterling, Managing Director for Osborne Property Services said; “Osborne were pleased to sponsor this event and contribute to celebrating young people in their efforts to excel in business.”

Michael Mercieca, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise said: “The Area and County Finals are stages  in finding the UK’s Best Overall Company, and all the teams here today have achieved so much over the past year.

“The Company Programme is a great platform for students to develop their skills such as confidence, teamwork and resilience and interact with their local business community along the way.

“Well done to all the winners today and particularly to Siren Designs .”