27 April 2020
A further 480 Year 8 and 9 students at Kingsthorpe College and, for the first time, Sponne School were reached by Silverstone Park’s careers awareness programme Inspiration for Innovation (I4I) before closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The programme, managed by Gaia Innovation, held ‘inspirational events’ at the two schools in February and March.
These included presentations from and face-to-face ‘speed networking’ sessions with business volunteers who were able to offer guidance by talking the students through their own varied career paths.
They followed a similar event at The Buckingham School, and added to visits to Silverstone Park by both Sponne and Kingsthorpe earlier in the academic year when students received tours of some of the high-tech businesses and facilities at the estate.
I4I is specifically targeted at Year 8 and 9 students because they are at a critical stage of their development in terms of choosing which GCSEs and career paths to take.
The programme is also in response to concerns from local employers about skills shortages…
Data from all activity in I4I’s second year (2019/20) will become available in the summer.
Sponne School, in Towcester became one of I4I’s three partner schools at the start of the current academic year and said it was impressed by the impact the inspirational event had on its students, staff and parents.
Ann Warner, Progress Learning Leader for Year 11 and PSHE Lead, enthused: “The feedback from the students has been really positive.
“They enjoyed all the activities, so thank you to those of you who prepared a session for them.
“The students also loved speaking to those who were involved in the speed interviewing sessions so thank you if you were part of this.”
“Anything is possible,” said one Sponne student in reaction to hearing from volunteers, and it was a similar story at Kingsthorpe where another young person added: “It has taught me anything is possible.”
Kingsthorpe’s Senior Deputy Headteacher Scott Wade added: “Our teaching and support staff were in awe at the scale of the event and were impressed with the professional feel the students experienced throughout the day.
“Students continued talking about it for some time, sharing their experiences of the day with each other, teachers and parents.”
MEPC’s Roz Bird, Commercial Director for Silverstone Park, said: “It is great that our business volunteers from Silverstone Park have had the chance to work with a large number of local students, aged 13-15, to explain the wide range of employment opportunities locally and make it clear just how important it is to have the right attitude to work and to other people.”
And Roz added: “Since the COVID-19 situation, Julia Muir (Gaia) and I have had detailed discussions on how to continue to deliver the I4I programme in the new academic year.
“We are looking at using a digital platform with videos, and advice from companies, which schools can access.
“Even though we are in ‘lockdown’, we are working on a plan to keep the programme going.”