Work experience flies business class

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Forget a week’s work experience - this was two years of solid grounding in what employers want.

More than 100 Sheffield school pupils have earned a ‘Passport to Employment’ designed to make bosses rubber stamp them into a job.

Each one has a picture of the ‘ambassador’, details the skills they have developed and is signed by the Master Cutler, a business champion and their headteacher.

Run by the Cutlers’ Company and Sheffield Council, the scheme taught creativity, innovation, critical thinking and teamwork. It also aimed to make them more resilient, reliable and responsible - ambassadors had to represent their school to business, represent business in school and pass on their knowledge to fellow pupils.

It was launched after employers complained that school leavers were not ready for work.

Master Cutler Tony Pedder, Forgemasters chairman, said: “The youngsters have gained hugely from the programme, not just in confidence and awareness of the needs of the workplace but also in understanding what career opportunities are out there.

“Employers have gained by setting out their stall for potential recruits and through their contribution to the development of our young people and finally, the schools have gained as their youngsters have matured through and been motivated by the programme.

“We seem to have struck the right chord as there is strong demand from schools to expand.

The 107 ambassadors were from Yewlands, Stocksbridge, Bradfield, Firth Park, Forge Valley and Meadowhead schools. They were paired with the manufacturing sector or the NHS.

Each school has a business champion who acts as mentor and is the link with business. Passports were handed out in a ceremony at the Cutlers’ Hall.