Crawley Borough Council is supporting more than 1,000 students from five Crawley schools as part of the Dare to Dream programme.
Dare to Dream is an inspirational programme created by the LoveLocalJobs Foundation C.I.C, which aims to support the self-awareness, resilience, employability skills and wellbeing of young people.
The programme aims to motivate young people and give them vital life skills to prepare them for their future careers.
With the fantastic support from Crawley-based businesses Gatwick Airport, PwC and People's Partnership, the Dare to Dream programme is currently giving 1,084 Year 9 students at The Gatwick School, Hazelwick, Ifield Community College, Oriel High and Thomas Bennett workplace experiences and the skills and confidence to fulfil their potential.
“I was really excited to be part of this programme, having grown up in the local area and joined Gatwick at 18 I felt I could offer some relevant advice and experience to the students at Thomas Bennett Community College", commented Lauren McDaniel, Commercial Operations Manager at Gatwick Airport.
"It’s been great to hear about the ambitions of this group of young people, as well as the challenges they face. I hope that I can contribute in a positive way.”
The programme is split into four parts. Three include an inspirational assembly, mentoring and a workshop, while the fourth is a workplace visit to a partnering local business.
The programme lead is radio celebrity, Jack ‘the Lad’ Hayes, who is using his skills to engage with youth audiences and tell his own story.
Jon Luck, Assistant Headteacher and Careers Lead at Thomas Bennett Community College, said: “We have been working with the Dare to Dream programme for the last two years and it has been such a positive experience for our students.
“Jack's assemblies never disappoint, and the students can relate to him and his stories, the mentors always bring such a positive experience and the students gain so much out of the sessions. I would recommend to all schools."
Chani Battams, Senior Marketing Campaigns Executive at People's Partnership, commented: "Being part of Dare to Dream has been really rewarding for me as a mentor. Not only is it helping my development, but it feels good to know that I’m making a difference to the children and hopefully their future.”
Danielle Quinlan, Senior Manager at PwC who has been involved with Dare to Dream for the past three years, said: "This programme is a fantastic opportunity for our people to give back to the local communities in which we live and work by sharing our skills, time and talent.
Each year I am reminded of the value the programme brings to the students and I am yet to come away from a session without feeling inspired by the students I interact with."
Councillor Atif Nawaz, Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development at Crawley Borough Council, said: “I was honoured to attend the Dare to Dream skills event at Ifield Community College recently.
“The enthusiasm from the students, presenters and mentors from business was inspiring. I’m delighted that we continue to support this excellent programme.”
The council has taken part in the LoveLocalJobs Foundation C.I.C's initiatives for several years, supporting many thousands of Crawley students as part of its long-term commitment to development the skills and employment prospects of young people in Crawley.