New Year and MORE to come
Happy New Year!
We had such a busy year last year with over 80 events both at the centre and in schools, working with over 10 000 pupils from primary to college. It was also great to see one of our biggest supporters (and regular speakers) Bill Scott, CEO of the Wilton Group get an OBE in the New Year Honours list. His work in industry is well documented and a huge success story for the local area but many people might not know how much he supports local schools and organisations that help pupils raise their aspirations and achieve great things in their lives just like he has done.
Our focus is always on developing social and cultural capital, supporting young people in developing the belief that the world is an ocean of possibility that they can navigate around. Without that expectation, that you can achieve great things with hard work and the right attitude, you end up with disengagement. Knowledge of the world of work is one thing but the belief that you are just like like the people that work there, that you could be them, is a different ball game altogether. There is a growing body of evidence that identifies effective approaches to widening cultural and social capital and how that will likely have a positive on both social mobility and later life achievement. ALL events and activities at Inspire2Learn are based around the factors contributing to these positive outcomes. Schools find it hard to design and fit these sort of activities into their busy curriculum and businesses find it hard to create and deliver quality outreach that has maximum reach for the time they have available. We will continue to be the bridge between the two and this year and we have an even wider range of activities planned that will supplement our already packed programme. Having waiting lists of 400 for some events shows the demand is there, we simply need to make it happen.
Part of our plan is to upscale what we already do so that EVERY pupil in the Tees Valley has the opportunity of being involved. Tees Valley Combined Authority have a clear plan set out using their devolved funding to engage more businesses in the Tees Valley with this sort of activity. It works both ways; pupils get meaningful experiences that help them aim higher and staff in businesses get great CPD through design and delivery of the experiences, which is where we help. The outcome is that longer term there will be more local school/college/university leavers coming through the system with a positive, engaged approach to the rest of their lives.
We already work really closely with schools in all of the 5 boroughs of the Tees Valley and hundreds of businesses across the NE without whom we simply couldn’t function. We know that if we charge schools to come they will have other priorities that need the money so we make everything fee free and also help to contribute to transport costs. This is too important to let barriers get in the way. It complements the hard work that our schools are doing on qualifications and like so many things in life both aspects are vital to improving life chances.
Support through the Careers and Enterprise Company (we won their award for best Provider in the North), Cleveland Scientific Institute, Sirius Minerals and of course TVCA in the last year has allowed us to reach more pupils than ever before. With that comes a need for more businesses but with the support of TVCA’s plan, the growing international investment in the area and the understanding that a collaborative approach has the biggest impact, we are poised to really upscale our provision for pupils in the Tees Valley. We really hope that if you work in the Tees Valley and agree with what is written above you will contact us and be part of a growing number of companies who are making a long term difference through a small donation of time just once or twice a year.