Business mentoring scheme at secondary school to be expanded

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STAFF and pupils have hailed the success of a scheme which sees top businesses mentoring pupils to help make them more employable and raise standards.

The Make the Grade initiative brings together Leeds schools with employers in the city.

It has been operating in schools for the past three years and is now set to be expanded across the wider Leeds City region.

The project has been so successful at one Leeds school that pupils have asked for it to be extended so that they can remain involved when they move up a year after September.

Make the Grade is run by the Ahead Partnership, a social enterprise which was started by former lawyer Stephanie Burras.

Year 10 girls and year nine boys at Swallow Hill Community College, in Leeds, have asked for it to be extended so they can remain a part of it. Over the last three years, pupils have been mentored by business advisory firm Grant Thornton, together with partners Logistik and Premier Farnell.

Bryan Pearce, business links co-ordinator at Swallow Hill Community College, said: “Any scheme which strengthens contact between students and businesses is invaluable.

“The Make the Grade initiative has been fantastic in terms of enabling young people to talk directly to real businesses.”

Students in the scheme have taken part in mentoring sessions with businesses and work site visits aimed at increasing their understanding of the world of work. In June, 14-year-old students visited Premier Farnell’s Leeds site and took part in a workshop on how to behave in the workplace.