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Thursday, 02 October 2014

Pupils put practice into making plans

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MENTOR SCHEME: Celebrating the mentoring success of Furness Academy students at BAE Systems Maritime – Submarines are, from the left, Mike Leece, from Furness Academy; Helen Barratt, mentor; Cath Bland, mentor; Chelsea Bower, student; Karen Johnson, mentor; Dylan Scullion, student; Stewart Johnston, mentor; Spencer Erdis, student; Helen Robinson, from Furness Academy; Douglas Blackledge, Furness Academy principal; and Gemma Marwood, mentor

By Natalie Chapples

YOUNG people have been learning vital skills with mentors at Barrow’s shipyard.

Furness Academy students undertook an eight-week programme, attending BAE Systems Maritime – Submarines each Friday afternoon to learn work skills from eight mentors.

They began with the simple planning task of making the perfect cup of tea, went on to planning work packages so that equipment was available when required, and built up to planning a submarine reactor build – from cutting and fabricating steel, to installing components.

Furness Academy principal, Douglas Blackledge, was in no doubt of the benefit his students had gained from the second work experience programme under a mentoring partnership between the academy and BAE.

Mr Blackledge said: “It is daunting for young people to move into a work environment, especially as BAE Systems is not only a world leader in its field, but a huge organisation in the town.

“For these young people those barriers have been broken down. They will have taken many good memories and much good learning from the experience.”

Mentor Cath Bland said: “They learnt the importance of schedule, and getting things done at the right time, and about improving process and adopting best practice.”

Each student gave a presentation on a topic of their choice, learnt to write a CV and underwent a mock interview.

Mrs Bland said: “They were really nervous coming in for the interviews but really enjoyed them.”

Each of the seven has received a framed certificate marking completion of the programme, and three of them attended a presentation night, with their parents, to formally receive their certificate from head of manufacturing, Andy Payne. Mr Payne said: “Hopefully you have gained a whole host of confidence from the skills you have learnt.

“You have shown a great deal of determination to work your way through the programme, which involved extra curricula activity and something that’s different. You should be very proud of yourselves to get to this point.”

The first programme under the mentoring partnership, which was staged in January, was more practical and “hands-on”, with students building submersible models to demonstrate the principles of buoyancy. This second programme dealt with more clerical skills. There will be a planning meeting with the academy in January to determine the right balance for the next programme.

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