Education Business Partnership (EBP) recently organised another fantastic Take a Chance Skills Day, with thanks to continued funding from the Vodafone Foundation. This annual event, now in its eleventh year, involved 28 enthusiastic Vodafone volunteers, 5 RAF personnel, and the team from EBP, all working together to give something back to the local community and provide a unique opportunity to young people from West Berkshire.
Over 120 students, aged 13 to 14 years, from eight local secondary schools attended the event at Newbury Racecourse, where they took part in various individual and team activities. A group of 32 Observers, for the most part university undergraduates, were there to help assess how well the young teenagers met the challenges involving communication, problem-solving, and teamwork skills to name but a few. One of the students from Denefield School said, “It is different to anything I’ve done before, I have learnt new skills that I will remember throughout my life.”
Jo Ritchie, a volunteer from Vodafone since the start of Take a Chance, said how delighted she is to have been involved in so many Skills Days, which have now benefited more than 1,500 young people. “As a team leader, you get the privilege of supporting the students throughout the day, coaching and giving ideas on how to solve some of the problems, as well as encouraging those quieter students to get involved. It’s great to see nervous students, who won’t interact at the beginning of the day and who you think aren’t going to join in, take on the challenges making new friends along the way.”
Jo’s comments were taken up by the Take a Chance Programme Manager at EBP, Helen Roy, who said, “Skills Day is designed as a fun and positive experience to help build students’ confidence and encourage them to take part in activities which they would usually try to avoid. Following this event, the 50 students who are selected to join the programme in the autumn will be encouraged with the support of their Vodafone mentors to raise their aspirations, as well as being given the chance to practise and develop skills which are highly sought after by employers.”