Young People Celebrated at Prestigious Awards Ceremony at Cutlers’ Hall

Published Wednesday 4 April 2018 in Sheffield

Despite severe weather conditions, school pupils in Sheffield demonstrated their resilience, determination and GRIT by attending the Better Learners Better Workers Passport Ceremony at Cutler’s Hall on Wednesday 28th February.

Better Learners Better Workers is an employer-led learning programme that offers young people, referred to as Ambassadors, over 100 hours of world of work experience in different sectors. School pupils are selected through an interview process in Year 8 and begin the programme in Year 9, where over the course of two years they develop the necessary skills to succeed in the workplace, in education and in life.

The Better Learners Better Workers skillset was created based on research into what employers and educators alike require and is constantly reviewed to reflect new findings and skills gaps within the region. These skills are recorded in a Skills Passport, which is reviewed by employer mentors during the programme, and validated at the end of the course.

163 Ambassadors were due to receive their completed Skills Passports at the event and were celebrated across seven sectors for their hard work and achievements on the Better Learners Better Workers programme.

The evening began with an introduction from George Kilburn, Chief Executive of the Cutlers’ Company, who praised Ambassadors for their determination in getting to the venue despite deteriorating conditions.

Nicholas Peter Cragg, Senior Warden at the Cutlers’ Company, then took to the stage on behalf of the Master Cutler to congratulate the Ambassadors on their achievements on the programme and that the Master Cutler was extremely impressed by the professionalism and confidence of Ambassadors he had met.

Cllr Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Families in Sheffield also attended and spoke of how the programme is raising aspirations and attainment across South Yorkshire: “Better Learners Better Workers is a wonderful programme and a fantastic example of co-operative working amongst education, businesses and local authorities to make a difference to young people. I had the pleasure of meeting young people who told me how much they’ve learnt and gained by taking part in the programme, but what really impressed me was their confidence and self-assurance.

Attendees then heard an employer perspective from Ian Nicholls of Sheffield Forgemasters who is also a Business Champion at Firth Park Academy: “This programme is about fitting young people’s aspirations with industry requirements. We create jobs and opportunities and try to fill them with enthusiastic young people. Better Learners Better Workers helps us to connect with these young people and give them the necessary career guidance to meet their aspirations.”

Each year, out of the groups of Ambassadors receiving their Skills Passports, a select few of high achieving young people are nominated for a Gold Award Skills Passport in recognition of their above and beyond dedication to the programme. Gold Awards are offered for progress and outstanding achievements.

Josh Kirk from Westfield School and Lily Rose from Handsworth Grange Academy were both present to receive Gold Awards for their hard work on the Better Learners Better Workers Engineering programme.

Josh Kirk, who was recognised for his outstanding effort, he said: “I am so proud to call myself an Ambassador and I hope everyone receiving their Skills Passports here this evening is too. It is an amazing achievement to have a Skills Passport to amaze employers with at interviews and being on this programme has taught me many things that I would never have known a few years back. The programme has made me stand out from other young people as it has provided me with opportunities to visit many different businesses alongside gaining work experience within a big engineering company.”

Josh learnt at the event that he had also been awarded an apprenticeship with engineering company Doncasters after impressing General Manager Kevan Donohoe during his time on the programme.

Kevan said: “At Doncasters we firmly believe our future success is wholly dependent on building a strong, sustainable apprenticeship programme through supporting the Better Learners Better Workers initiative, which helps young people get ready for their first taste of work, and gives them the opportunity to develop real life skills and tools to have the best chance of success, which we all ultimately benefit from.”

He added: “Throughout my own personal involvement, I have had the pleasure of interacting with some very engaged, bright individuals, who have developed themselves through the programme and are now more than ready for their first step in their fledging career. Josh continually impressed Doncasters with his maturity and sheer will to succeed, which we are thrilled to be able to recognise with his apprenticeship offer. Doncasters are proud to support the Better Learners Better Workers programme and the engineers of tomorrow.”

Lily Rose was rewarded for her significant progress throughout the programme and said: “The time I have spent on this programme has been amazing, everything I have done has been on my own and I have become much more confident and independent. I’ve had the opportunity to go to lots of different places and learn things about the workplace, and in particular engineering that I would never have known before. I’ve found out about how businesses work, different departments and that there are plenty of opportunities for women in Engineering. I went into this programme thinking I didn’t like Engineering as a subject, but I’ve discovered that I love it and is something that I would absolutely love to pursue going forward.”

To find out more about the Better Learners Better Workers programme or to get involved please contact us.

Better Learners Better Workers