Over 70 Year 11 students from Sheffield, Doncaster and Barnsley schools and Academies were recognised for their achievements on an employment skills programme at a prestigious awards ceremony hosted at the Cutlers’ Hall, Sheffield, on 26 February.
The students, known as Ambassadors, all on the Better Learners Better Workers programme, were each awarded a Skills Passport certificate for developing skills identified by employers as essential for success in the work place. Each Skills Passport certificate outlined what the Ambassador had achieved on the programme in order to provide evidence for study and job applications.
Ten students were singled out for an extra award, Gold Ambassador or Highly Commended, to recognise outstanding progress, innovation and all round excellence.
The Better Learners Better Workers programme is supported by employers, giving young people aged 13-16 a rich experience of the world of work and vital insight into career opportunities. A unique feature is the focus on specific employment sectors important to the local and regional economy, including Engineering, Healthcare, and Construction.
The programme was founded by the Cutlers’ Company, a regional association of major manufacturing and engineering employers. The current Master Cutler, Mr Nicholas Williams, introduced this year’s Awards event by saying: “It is a pleasure to welcome you all here, especially as the 384th Master Cutler to our Hall. My predecessors have all said that I will do about 400-500 events during my year of office, but the one to look forward to is tonight. The future is yours, whether it’s in healthcare, construction or engineering. You have proved so much already. I had the privilege of signing 74 Skills Passports today, so congratulations to you all, and thank you to the schools for taking part.”
The Better Learners Better Workers programme is supported in Sheffield by the City Council. Addressing the young Ambassadors, Kevin Straughan, Head of Lifelong Learning, Skills
and Communities at the Council, said: “This programme is a very important part of our work and I’m delighted to be here this evening to share this graduation moment with all of the young people involved. You’ve worked ever so hard to achieve this and this is a wonderful moment for you. You should be proud and realise that this is going to help you with your future lives, impress employers and show them your dedication.”
In Barnsley, the scheme is supported by South West Yorkshire Partnership Trust NHS. Trudy Warner, Business Operation Officer said, “This will be Barnsley’s second Skills Passport Graduation Ceremony and represents three years of our overall involvement with the programme. The NHS has the same issues as engineering. Our patients are living longer, and our work is growing, so we need to ensure we have a workforce to meet the future demand.
Our aim has been to give a wider understanding of career opportunities within the NHS. We’ve watched the Ambassadors grow and gain confidence during their experiences throughout the course of the programme.”
Nick Green, Assistant Principal at Penistone Grammar School, one of the participating schools, said: “This is an opportunity to develop young people and there are lots of people sat in this room today who have made growth happen. There have been challenges along the way, but I’ve learnt that the young people here have got the skills to meet those challenges head on. To all the Ambassadors in this room now, congratulations.”
The evening concluded with presentations by two Ambassadors from the programme, Naema Hassan and Malaikah Azeem from Fir Vale School, who are on the Healthcare programme, who demonstrated their confidence by addressing such a large gathering of people and told us how, “The Better learners Better Workers programme changes lives.”
Gold Ambassadors 2020
Innovation: Sultan Hasan Fiaz Kusar (Fir Vale)
Progress: Olivia Woodward (Penistone grammar)
Outstanding: Anezka Mirgova (Fir vale)
Innovation: Htee Soe Eh H’too (Park academy)
Progress: Jack Waller (Park academy)
Outstanding: Ryan Ashmore (Chaucer school)
Innovation: Johnny France (King Edwards)
Progress – JOINT: Oliver Boyd (springs academy) and Adam Whiteley (Penistone grammar)
Outstanding: Silvia Sugar (Park academy)