This programme began 2015, with 30 Year 8 students selected to take part in the programme. Now the students are in Year 10 and are in the final year of the programme, where this year they will participate in three workshops supported by KPMG and Clifford Chance. The theme for this year is ‘All about me’, with the key objective being that these students have the chance to really explore themselves, their ideas, their skills, and their aspirations.
The programme began with the aim of encouraging Gifted and Talented students at Cumberland School to really push themselves and develop their skills and knowledge. We wanted students to work on projects outside of their school environment, to meet and work with new people, and develop a more secure understanding of the opportunities ahead of them.
Over the past three years, the students have participated in a number of different workshops, all focusing on different knowledge and skills. Students worked in small groups to put together a presentation on the changes taking place at West Ham Park, they took part in a negotiation challenge, and they undertook a series of tasks designed to improve self-awareness.
As well as developing key skills through the workshops, the students have also had the opportunity to communicate with peers that they might not usually work with and to network with the business volunteers from KPMG and from Clifford Chance.
These two aspects together make the three-year programme hugely impactful and beneficial to the students that have taken part.
The first workshop of the 2017-2018 academic year took place on 31st January 2018. Students completed a personality quiz, and a SWOT analysis, before devising and discussing SMART targets with the volunteers.
Students’ strong agreement with the statement “I can easily identify my strengths and weaknesses’ jumped from 15% to 59%. The SWOT analysis, and self-reflection in the personality quiz, complimented with discussions with the volunteers contributed to this change.
We asked students which part of the workshop they found most interesting and enjoyable:
‘Talking to the mentors and learning about university and work life’Student
We also asked students how thought they would be able to use what they learnt today in the future:
‘I will be able to set targets which mean something and also identify strengths and weaknesses'Student
We have been really pleased to see how much students engaged and benefitted from the activities around self-awareness and identifying strengths and weaknesses. The ability to self-develop will be an essential one as they take their GCSE exams next year and look ahead to further education, training, or a career.
Whilst we do want students to engage with the prepared activities, we are keen to ensure that they are able to get full benefit from the business volunteer attending the session. In all of our sessions we aim to find the best balance between these two things.
‘It was very rewarding, I know what to work on, I will be able to set targets which mean something and also identify strengths and weaknesses’Student