Wednesday, 30 November 2016


I was at Outwood Academy Shafton on Monday night to talk to the parents and carers of our new 'Better Learners, Better Workers: Made in Barnsley' ambassadors. Kelly Drury, who leads the programme for the Barnsley Healthcare Federation, and I were supported Jayne Carr, Additional Leader, Deep Experience and Head of Vocational/Life Subjects, who had helped us to recruit a wonderful group of 'Made in Barnsley' ambassadors!! We were there to explain the programme and the roles and responsibilities that come with being selected as a Cutlers' Ambassador. 

We explained to the parents and carers who attended that the Cutler’s Better Learners, Better Workers programme is an employer-led approach, which operates in a number of key employment sectors: the healthcare sector, the construction sector and the engineering sector advanced manufacturing sector among others.  In each sector a group of young people, the Cutlers’ Ambassadors, are interviewed and carefully selected to experience a unique programme of activities. These activities enable them to develop awareness of the world of work and to develop the skills and attitudes employers want from young people as they enter the workplace. In Barnsley, the approach starts with taster sessions helping young people gain first hand experience of healthcare, engineering and construction.

The programme is being developed with employment sectors brought together by the Barnsley Healthcare Federation in partnership with the Cutlers Company. The programmes starts in Year 9 and develops over two years; the students taking part in visits and work experience placements with employers, world of work, life skills and team building sessions, and carry out employer initiated projects. Importantly, some of these activities take place in half-terms and holidays and require time and commitment. The young people have regular feedback and reviews and are finally awarded an employer endorsed passport in Year 11 to recognise their achievements at a celebration event.

We see parents and carers as key partners in the programme and try to engage and involve them wherever possible. Our guide stresses this partnership and encourages parents and carers to work with us to help their daughter or son get the most out off the programme. We encourage parents and carers to:
  • Provide support and encourage your daughter/son to take up all the opportunities the programme offers, including those after-school, in half-terms and during holidays. 
  • Encourage your daughter/son to work hard on the programme, complete all the assignments and go the extra mile! 
  • Attend launch and celebration events with your daughter/son whenever you can. 
  • Find as many ways as possible to discuss with your daughter/son what they are doing on the programme and what skills they are developing as ambassadors for the school, the sector and the Cutlers’ Company. 
  • Look for other ways where these key skills can be developed in your daughter/son. 
  • Stress wherever possible with your daughter/son, the benefits of the programme in terms of the impact on their learning and GCSE outcomes. 
  • Work positively and creatively with the school and the businesses involved as partners and champions for your daughter/son’s route into the world of work.

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