Cumbria’s unique Dream Placement leadership and business experience programme launches this month offering a blend of virtual and real engagement that has been developed with businesses and students in the wake of the pandemic.

The collaborative programme co-created with business by the Centre for Leadership Performance (CfLP) gives 16-18-year-olds from across the county the chance to learn about careers and business and gain life-changing opportunities.

CfLP, a not-for profit-private limited leadership company, is now working to bring more businesses on board to provide placements and help fund the programme.

CfLP Executive Director Sarah Glass said: “Cumbria is facing a huge challenge with our brightest young people leaving the county for university or city life, and others challenged by their educational attainment or personal circumstances. Many young people don’t realise the opportunities available to them right here but Dream Placement gives them greater awareness and understanding of Cumbrian businesses and the careers they offer.

“All of our partners and collaborators on the programme agree that it is vital to engage with and listen to young people of all abilities who may be unsure about their futures or rethinking their career ideas. They are the leaders and workforce of tomorrow and our most important resource.

“Last year’s Dream Placement was very successful despite COVID, with 150 young people applying to take part and 34 gaining placements. This year we want more businesses involved and are rolling out the campaign in schools and colleges to encourage more young people to take part.”

Interviews for placements will mainly take place face-to-face in December, and week-long placements with businesses during the February 2022 half-term break will blend on-line and personal contact.

Companies offering Dream Placements range from major players in Cumbria’s nuclear sector to small and medium-size specialist companies and other organisations.

Every applicant gets one-to-one guidance with additional support to ensure every teenager gains the knowledge to succeed and the confidence to build their future character.

Networking and connecting people is a vital part of CfLP’s work and an integral component within Dream Placement. Students will benefit from meeting other young people and business leaders with whom they can share experiences and aspirations, and continue networking through Cumbria Future Leaders set up by CfLP to connect and broker links with employers and youth groups for dialogue and discussions.

Young people and businesses wishing to take part in the programme should visit