Wednesday, 7 May 2014


I was in Sheffield again today talking to members of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and development (South Yorkshire and District Branch) about the Cutlers Made in Sheffield initiative.
This radically different and unique programme was developed in Sheffield by businesses and schools working together and students from Bradfield, Firth Park, Forge Valley, Meadowhead, Stocksbridge and Yewlands, who had followed either the engineering/advanced manufacturing or the NHS Teaching Hospitals programme, were the first to achieve the Cutlers' Made in Sheffield passports.
These brilliant programmes were designed to help the schools develop the Cutlers' " Made in Sheffield" skills: character, core skills and higher level skills. The higher level skills are focused around a plan, do, review cycle ( planning and exploring, organising and implementing and reviewing and learning) and focus on critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork.  The real difference in the approach we are developing is that the whole project has been developed with Sheffield employers who are committed to working with the schools to create employable, 'ready for work' young people with a passion for work!

We know what works; feedback, mentoring, coaching and one-to-one tuition and these elements lie at the heart of the Cutlers' Made in Sheffield scheme and we must be brave enough to expose the myth that environment and deprivation rather than character are a better explanation of why people behave and act as they do. Too many people with vested interests have persuaded us that our energy, efforts and resources should be directed at correcting social problems and addressing poor performance rather than developing strategies and approaches focused on academic and technical excellence, developing higher level skills and abilities, shaping character, resilience and grit and nurturing innovation and creativity. This fixed mindset approach sees young people from poorer communities as needing discipline, command and control rather than opportunities, expectation and esteem. We need to create a learning landscape where we see potential in every child and provide opportunities and help all our young people achieve their goals and release their talent and magic! If you want to find out more about the work we are doing in Sheffield please let me know.

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