The achievements of almost 60 students from Crawley and Gatwick schools were commended at an awards ceremony on Thursday, March 16 at the Arora Hotel Gatwick/Crawley.
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 the programme’s sponsors and volunteer business guides alongside the Be the Change Team, headed up by Graham Moore, co-founder of award winning social enterprise humanutopia, and Rosanna Farrar of LoveLocalJobs.com.
Graham said: “It has been an incredible journey not just for these amazing 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 in their abilities and more excited about their futures.”
The students come from five secondary schools in the area: Ifield Community College, Hazelwick School, Holy Trinity Church of England Secondary School, St Wilfrid’s Catholic School and Thomas Bennett Community College.
A student from Ifield Community College said at the event: “Thank you for everything that you have done to help me ‘Be the Change’, I will never ever forget this”
Rosanna Farrar, Head of Events & Be the Change at LoveLocalJobs.com, said:“It’s not easy for lots of young people in the UK and many of the students who take part in 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, to believe in themselves and to develop 21st Century skills that will enable them to take responsibility for their lives and future ambitions. It’s been an amazing journey and we have been overwhelmed by the level of support from the Gatwick and Crawley business community – with 34 volunteer business guides from 10 local businesses.”
Be the Change Crawley and Gatwick has been sponsored by Arora Hotel Gatwick, NatWest, Crawley Borough Council, The Careers & Enterprise Company, West Sussex County Council, Southern Water, Gatwick Airport and supported by the Crawley Observer and other local businesses.
Karen Cullinane, from Gatwick Airport said: “I have been professionally and personally inspired by the programme and only feel disappointed that it has come to an end. I believe every school and every child should have the opportunity to get involved with Be the Change – it’s been truly amazing.”
Georgina Angele, from The Careers & Enterprise Company explains “Supporting Be the Change through the ongoing partnership between Coast to Capital LEP and The Careers & Enterprise Company is a fantastic way of ensuring that local students are benefiting from more encounters with employers and the workplace. Research shows that 4 or more quality encounters with employers during their school-life reduces the chance of young people to be Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) and increases their confidence in making important decisions about how they engage with their education and successfully find employment. All the schools involved in Be the Change are part of the Coast to Capital LEP Enterprise Adviser Network and I would urge local employers to connect with the EA Network so that more of our local students can benefit from Programmes such as this.”